Preparing For 4.0.6

The official patch notes were released for 4.0.6, the first sizable patch of this expansion and I figured I would cover the changes that would most affect holy priests and what they could possibly mean for us, if and when they make it to Live.  First up, let’s talk about some things that may be considered more general changes, but that could still affect you and why.

*  Level 85 players can now choose any normal dungeon via the Dungeon Finder. Choosing Random Dungeon will still not add these lower-level dungeons into the rotation.

I like this change, because I feel that being able to queue up for dungeons that might be lower level than you are can serve as a great way to practice healing.  This is especially true if you used a DPS spec to level (which I hope you did) and may not have spent your entire journey from 80 – 85 doing any sort of real healing.  Also, if you happened to have missed some upgrades along the way to 85 that could be preventing you from being as ready as you would like, you can now go back and queue for those specific dungeons and get the pieces that you need.

*  The Haste display on the Character Info window (C) now shows the total haste percentage, rather than only haste from haste rating.

This will be particularly useful, because the Haste that you get from putting points into Darkness would not show up on your character sheet.  This could be misleading or confusing when trying to determine how close you were to reaching the first break point for Haste which is 12.50%.  I wonder if this will also include the Haste you could also receive from raid buffs.  For example, those you would receive by having a moonkin, shadow priest or shaman along with you.

*  Darkmoon Card: Tsunami now properly procs Giant Wave when basic heal-over-time spells are cast.

At one point, it was confirmed that Darkmoon Card: Tsunami was a terrible choice for resto druids, because of this.  Renew was also included as a spell that would not cause you to gain stacks from this trinket.  With this change, Renew will again have a chance to give you stacks of Spirit.  As an aside, it seems that the trinket procs off the number of people you heal versus the number of heals that you cast. This means that our numerous AOE heals work well, particularly Circle of Healing, Holy Word: Sanctuary and Prayer of Healing.  There is speculation about Divine Hymn and Prayer of Mending not generating any stacks, though I haven’t been able to confirm this personally or find enough evidence to really support that.

Now, let’s discuss the things that are exclusively aimed at holy priests and what exactly they might mean for us.

*  The mana cost of Power Word: Fortitude has been reduced by approximately 68%, making it roughly equal to the cost of Mark of the Wild.

*  The mana cost of Shadow Protection has been reduced by approximately 65%, making it roughly equal to the cost of Mark of the Wild.

Both good things.  This saves you mana at the beginning of a pull and can also save you mana if someone receives a battle res or uses their Soulstone and they need to be re-buffed on the fly.

*  The mana cost of Power Word: Shield has been increased by approximately 31%, but its effect has been increased by 208%.

Personally, I have never had a problem using spells with high mana costs, if I feel that I am getting as much as I can out of them.  Holy priests have never relied too heavily on shields, except when tank healing.  This is where I feel this change will be most noticed.  Keeping a shield on the tank constantly is important and this will make sure that your shield is much stronger and able to absorb more damage.  I think you would only notice the increase in mana cost if you were spamming shields on multiple people, which nobody should be doing (discipline or otherwise) at this point.

*  The mana cost of Renew has been reduced by 24%.

Renew still has use, just not in the blanketing capacity that it used to.  As I may have mentioned before, I use Renew as more of a single target heal in raids.  If I see three or more members of a party or group taking damage and I feel they will be in range of each other to benefit from a Prayer of Healing, I will use that.  If I see that three or more members of the raid are taking damage and they could be close enough to each other to benefit from Circle of Healing, I will go with that.  If it happens to be that one or two random people took some damage and you think the other two spells might be overkill then Renew would be your ideal choice.

I like that the cost of Renew went down and I think it’s a good thing, as long as it doesn’t continue and that Blizzard doesn’t go back on their word that they want us to stay away from the Renew blanketing style of healing.  I couldn’t help but be apprehensive about it when I first saw this change and then when I saw that Rejuvenation was having its mana cost lowered, too.  I like the holy priest style of healing as it is right now and would hate to see it fall back into that old model that we all got way too comfortable using and that helped promote a lot of the bad habits we had to unlearn before we could go forward and heal the way we do now.

*  Chakra now lasts 1 minute, up from 30 seconds.

I feel like something is brewing with Chakra and I’m not sure what it is.  I know that many priests have been very vocal about wanting Chakra to be a permanent stance, like that of a warrior or something that could be toggled, like a paladin aura.  I can’t say that I’m a fan of that or that I agree with those ideas.  I like Chakra the way that it is now.  I don’t feel it’s that difficult to manage or keep up with.  Blizzard has been very clear that they want holy priests to spend most of their time, if not all of their time in a Chakra state and I feel this change supports that.

With Chakra having a 1 minute base duration, it’s safe to say that points in State of Mind are no longer needed.  That frees up a talent point or two to place in other talents.  The problem is that there aren’t too many other talents that are that wonderful.  If you had to put the points somewhere I would suggest Spirit of Redemption or the next talent or ability we are going to discuss.

*  Desperate Prayer now heals the priest for 30% of their total health, up from a very subpar value.

I became a recent convert to Desperate Prayer and am so glad that I took it.  This spell can save your ass.  First off, it does not cost mana to use and it’s instant cast.  You can use it on the run.  You can use it in the air.  It has a chance to crit and it procs our Mastery, so we get a little heal over time on ourselves to go along with it.  As of right now, mine heals for a little over 9500 on average.  With 120K hit points, that’s not very much.  With this change, my Desperate Prayer would instead heal for at least 36K.  That’s a huge increase!  If this doesn’t motivate you to take Desperate Prayer, I don’t know what will!

*  Holy Concentration now increases the amount of mana regeneration from Spirit while in combat by an additional 15/30%, down from 20/40%.

This is a minor change, but I would certainly not call this a nerf.  We have been doing fine for mana, maybe a little too fine.  Since I started 25 man raids with my guild, I noticed that I haven’t had to use a potion at all.  My fellow priests and I are coordinating our Hymn of Hope usage.  We use Shadowfiend at the right time.  We manage our mana really well.  Not to mention that we coordinate things with our resto shaman and the Mana Tide Totem that they bring, among other forms of regaining mana.  I think increasing our mana regen that much was meant to get priests over the initial hurdle of Heroics and now it can sort of be toned down, now that we’re starting to raid and don’t have to rely on just ourselves to keep our mana pools full.

*  Holy Word: Chastise now has a 30 second cooldown, up from 25.  In addition, it properly breaks from damage.

Were priests seriously using this spell that much where it was that much of a concern?  This is probably a PVP change, I hope.

*  Lightwell’s health has been increased by 50% (for PVP purposes).

I admit that I didn’t even know my Lightwell had hit points until I read about this change.  Currently, mine has 27,397 health.  With this change, it would increase to a little over 41K.  That’s a big difference!

*  Serendipity now has Spell Alert and Floating Combat Text feedback support.

With everything else going on in a raid environment, this could be helpful to remind you that you have a stack or two of Serendipity up, in case you run into an emergency and need to do what I call a Serenity bomb.  This could be either two Binding Heals and/or Flash Heals, followed by a Greater Heal or a Prayer of Healing.  This is a helpful reminder that you have this option available to you, if you don’t already use addons or mods that would remind you otherwise.

*  Surge of Light can now also proc from Flash Heal and Greater Heal and can now also critically heal.

Again, this a change and a talent that really shines when tank healing.  I wonder if the Flash Heal that you get from the proc can in turn have a chance to proc another Flash Heal.  That would be really cool if it worked like that and could increase the value of this talent even more.  As it stands, I don’t use Flash Heal and Greater Heal too often when tank healing.  I find that I can manage to keep my tank up with a shield, Renew, Prayer of Mending, Heal and Holy Word: Serenity, while in Chakra: Serenity.  I do use the occasional Flash Heal for spike damage and will drop a Serendipity bomb if things get too out of hand (Flash Heal x 2 and then a Greater Heal), but not nearly as much as I use just plain Heal.  Still, having a chance to proc this talent off of four spells rather than two (if you include Smite) sounds a lot better to me.

Last but not least, a few glyph changes, as well.

*  Glyph of Pain Suppression has been renamed Glyph of Desperation and now allows Guardian Spirit to be cast while stunned, in addition to Pain Suppression.

I haven’t run into too many encounters where I can say that being stunned prevented me from using Guardian Spirit.  I’m inclined to say that this a PVP change, but I could be wrong.  Major glyphs for holy priests tend to fall on the lackluster side, as is.  I know right now I’m using Glyph of Circle of Healing, Dispel Magic and Mass Dispel.  Obviously, I have room for more beneficial ones, if they should pop up.  I’ll keep my eyes peeled for situations in upcoming raids where I feel this one could be useful and see if it makes the cut.

*  Glyph of Spirit of Redemption has been converted into Glyph of Prayer of Mending, which increases the healing done by the first charge of Prayer of Mending by 60%.

Another major glyph that could easily replace some less useful or interesting ones that we have to choose from.  Prayer of Mending should still always be used off cooldown and you could notice an increase in healing output with this glyph.  I would strongly consider replacing one of the two that I’m not too fond of for this one and you should, too.

Overall, I’m happy about the changes coming in 4.0.6.  I don’t feel that we have anything to worry about, compared to how some other classes may feel about their changes.  I still believe that we as holy priests are in a very good place and that we should recognize that and keep doing what we’re doing.  How do you feel about these changes or what changes would you like to see made?

Tagged as , , + Categorized as Holy Priest


  1. “I like this change, because I feel that being able to queue up for dungeons that might be lower level than you are can serve as a great way to practice healing.”
    I was thinking exactly this. I want to practice some healing now on my holydin, but I don’t dare to dash into the higher content yet. Being to level up to 85 and then do a nice and relaxing (or so I hope) normal BRC should be just right.
    Zinn´s last blog ..Discipline Priest Healing HeroicsMy ComLuv Profile


  2. “I haven’t run into too many encounters where I can say that being stunned prevented me from using Guardian Spirit. I’m inclined to say that this a PVP change, but I could be wrong.”
    No… really?

    “Were priests seriously using this spell that much where it was that much of a concern? This is probably a PVP change, I hope.”
    Again, crazy, a pvp glyph being extended to also provide functionallity for holy priests in.. wait for it, pvp.

    “Keeping a shield on the tank constantly is important and this will make sure that your shield is much stronger and able to absorb more damage.”
    As holy? I might be wrong here but I’m guessing the hpm and hps of shield for holy is pretty lackluster, and only useful for body and soul situational absorption gimmicks. In fact, a Flash Heal has higher hpm for holy, and more than double the hps. There is no reason to be shielding when tank healing as holy.


    Oestrus Reply:

    I assume your earlier musings in the comment were meant for comic relief or some other end that doesn’t really involve me, so I will let you have those and simply agree with you, politely.

    Regarding your thoughts on tank healing, I would disagree with you that using Flash Heal without SoL procs is in any way better than using a shield on the tank. If you are using Flash Heal in any kind of spam capacity, when the tank doesn’t need urgent heals, your mana will suffer because of it. I would like to think that we as priests have moved past the point of thinking that shields are specifically for discipline and that holy should have no business shielding anything. We have the tool for a purpose and I feel you are missing out by not using it, simply because someone else can do it better.


  3. Yes excuse my smart arsery, I just had to share it with world, Though I even got the quotes around the wrong way. >.>

    I am not advocating FH spam at all. I am using it to highlight the contradiction/inconsistency. Lets look at the two heals, and what we get from them.

    Shield HPM: 2.96
    FH HPM: 3.74

    So shielding as holy has a lower hpm (healing per mana) than FH, ie. it is less efficient.

    shield HPCT: 6629
    FH HPCT: 16440

    HPCT is Healing per Cast Time. As you can see a Flash Heal has over 2x the healing per cast time of shield.

    So if shield heals for less than half as much as FH in the same time, and consumes more mana per point healed to do so, why would you ever use a shield, when you could cast a Flash Heal and be more efficient with greater throughput?

    Well there are 2 scenario’s:
    1) You are on the move, already have a renew up, have every other instant cast on CD, and desperately need any bit of healling on the tank you can get. (I would still suspect you might be better off speed bubbling yourself and FHing the tank when you get where you’re going sooner, or FH then speed bubble)
    2) Your tank is going to take a hit that will kill him in the span of the next GCD (ie you can’t wait for a FH to land) or he is already topped off but is going to take a hit that will one shot him (lolwut). Also, the 8685 absorption from the shield needs to make the difference that will save him. If you’re in this situation then you probably should have FHed or GHed sooner, or you should just blow GS. After all, who can really tell at a glance that 8.7k absorption will be the difference between a death or not, and fast enough to make the decision.

    Either way, its definitely not important to keep a shield on the tank at all times, (infact having weakened soul up would discount both of the two usage scenario’s outlined above). and indeed it is in almost all cases better to use a Flash Heal without SoL procs on the tank than using a shield.

    As it stands at the moment, Power Word: Shield for holy is simply a 4 second movement speed buff with the perk of a trivial amount of absorption, and I would be concerned about any holy priest of mine maintaining shields on the tank as any part of their regular spell usage.

    However, that’s not to say this won’t be reevaluated once 4.0.6 lands, at 208% more absorption, for only 31% more mana, shield’s hpm would increase to 4.7 becoming more efficient than FH. It’s hpct will increase to 13788, still less than Flash Heal. However it only needs to surpass FH in one metric to not be made redundant by it (indeed if it surpassed it in both it itself would leave FH redundant)

    *HPCT and HPM values taken from under “Theorycrafted Spell Values and Stat Weightings” there is a table labeled “Single target spells” which uses a model ilvl 359 set.

    TL;DR: FH is better for holy than shielding. shield tanks instead of casting a FH only for body and soul and when you’re on the move, however this may change in 4.0.6 with shield earning its place as a holy healing tool.


    Oestrus Reply:

    I will admit that your calculations do make a lot of sense and to a certain extent I can see where you’re coming from. I still can’t help but feel that you are discussing two different concepts that could be seen as apples and oranges.

    Your argument is based on the concept that one spells heals for more than the other. You are completely right. Shields do not heal, they absorb. Flash Heal will absolutely heal more than a shield will, as would Renew or even probably Circle of Healing for that matter. Those spells do not absorb damage. Those spells do not prevent incoming damage that in the end would determine if I should use a slower, more mana effective heal to heal the damage or if I need to use a faster, more costly heal to get the job done.

    After speaking with the discipline priests in my raid, they have explained that they would prefer I didn’t shield my tank for a different reason entirely and that’s so can they get mana back from Rapture and the shield being consumed by damage. That’s an incredibly valid argument and I’m open to hearing their thoughts on that and how I can help out. I admit I had no idea that was a concern. However, the general consensus otherwise is that if it’s my tank and I have my shield as a tool, why would I not use it? Heaing and absorption are two different effects and I feel you can only compare them so much, if at all. Preventing damage is just as important as healing it.


  4. You’re discussing the use of two “bad” spells. Whether the one is better than the other seems moot, since they’re both not good enough to be used continously. What matters is how much survivability a spell gives in comparison to its mana cost, and the shield isn’t very high up that list when holy. Definitely not high enough to warrant regular use. Personally I don’t use either of them unless in a pinch because they’re both not mana efficient when holy. Not to mentioned what other good stuff you could throw during that gcd that probably would do alot more healing! Keeping the shield up rarely has any special advantage as a holy since we have no extra benefits from shields the way disc does (not counting Body & Soul). Maybe if you were holy tank-healing, but what a waste of potential that would be. The only good thing about it is that it is instant. The shield should be used the same way Flash Heal is imo – only when absolutely necessary.
    Zinn´s last blog ..Mystery Files – The Floating Cat HeadMy ComLuv Profile


    Oestrus Reply:

    Hey there, Zinn. While I do enjoy your blog immensely and am very pleased that you are commenting here, there are a couple of statements that you made that I feel compelled to expand upon or to debate about with you.

    You made mention of the fact that a holy priest could be casting something else during the GCD that would provide more healing, yet something I have repeatedly stated is that healing done and absorption done are two entirely different concepts. Yes, any number of spells would heal someone for more than a shield does. A shield does not actually heal someone. It prevents someone, in this case a tank, from receiving incoming damage and could help with spacing out the heals that they receive a bit more.

    I’m really opposed to this idea that just because someone can do something better that it automatically means another person should not do it at all. We have these tools for a reason. We have an entire Chakra state devoted to single target/tank healing. We have shields. Having your points in a certain spec does not immediately lock out all opposing spells from other trees for a very good reason. These tools are meant to be used. I think people who limit themselves to their particular tree and refuse to branch out for whatever reason are severely limiting their own potential and perhaps that of their raid. I really don’t understand that train of thought, but would be open to trying to, if it were sold to me in a more convincing fashion.

    Your last comment particularly hit home. Potential means different things to different people. In my opinion, it’s wasted potential to say “Nope, I don’t do that. I’m this kind of priest.” Derevka and Avalonna from ToaP once said something along the lines of “You are not a discipline priest. You are not a holy priest. You are a healing priest.” It is our job to heal. Willingly placing yourself into a box, because you either feel you can’t do a job or simply refusing to do it is a large part of the reason that we as healers fell into so many of the bad habits we developed in “Wrath.” Blizzard didn’t do to us – we did.

    Just to clarify, I don’t mean “you” personally, I mean “you” in general. Again, I’m pleased to see you commenting and I look forward to discussing this further with you, Zinn.


    Gerek Reply:

    I agree that we should use all the spells at our disposal. I agree PW:S is good in Holy as well. However, I don’t use it for tank healing because of the simple fact I can get more HPM out of other spells. Of course absorbs are an entirely different thing than healing, but how often does it matter if the tank takes damage and you heal it, or you shield him, and he doesn’t take the damage at all (At least not some of it)?

    Don’t misunderstand me, I still use PW:S a lot, but only because of Body and Soul. 40 % movement speed on a target you chose is amazing, it’s the sole reason PW:S is good in Holy.


    Oestrus Reply:

    Hello there Gerek,

    I appreciate your feedback and I’m glad to hear that another holy priest is having success with tank healing. I have been working with our discipline priests to see if they will be shielding my tank (for Rapture) or not and if they’re not, I will shield them if things get rough. I do find the argument interesting about healing the damage versus trying to prevent it by absorbing it. I’m not saying the argument is bad, it’s just new to me. I never really thought about it that way. I will shield the tank, if they are getting low, to buy myself some time to get off a Serendipity bomb (as I lovingly call it) or something else. Do I expect the shield to prevent a large amount of damage? No. But it does buy me the time to do something that might bring the tank back up more quickly.

    So it has a use, just not the one that a shield is typically used for and expected to be used for. Regarding B&S, I completely agree with you. I don’t know how I managed to live without it before! To me, it’s not even an optional talent. It’s a must have!

    Gerek Reply:

    Actually, I too consider myself a “Healing priest” more than a Holy – I used Disc ever since the Ulduar patch, but switched to Holy when Cata hit, because I simply couldn’t keep up. So I can say; you will be using PW:S on tanks, on CD even.
    When the 4.0.6 patch hit’s live, I’m going to spec Disc again, just because of the buff to PW:S as it’ll be great on tanks.

    I do see you point though, by shielding tanks when things get rough though. But that 8 K absorb, how much of a difference is that going to make? You could – in the same GCD used on PW:S – already have cast your first Flash Heal, and there by not only getting the first Serendipity stack (For you bomb ^^) but also have healed the tank more, than the damage prevented by PW:S. As Fount stated earlier, currently the shield is weaker in HPM and HPS than Flash heal – and considering the new inflated HP pools (and that the tanks most likely have popped CD’s by this time) I can imagine any realistic scenario where a shield could have saved the tank.

  5. As a fellow Holy priest, I have to say that I do occasionally use PW: S for necessary encounters. I don’t spam it, but during certain encounters PW: S has better uses than FH. Example: Halfus during Furious Roar. The raid leader usually calls out for the incoming stun and we shield the tanks. I believe this stun is about 5-6 sec or so, during of which the tanks are being hit by the boss and usually the third drake (BTW the new Glyph of Desperation would be fantastic for this fight. We’ve wiped several times mainly because I can’t cast GS while stunned). And as “trivial” as the amount of damage it absorbs during the stun, it’s still damage that doesn’t need to be healed and can mean the difference between a clear and a wipe. I also run with a Disc priest and we coordinate shielding between the 2 of us. We run with a Disc priest, Holy priest, and Resto druid for our 10 man team.

    Numbers don’t always say everything. Blizzard has made PW: S very unique to Holy priests with the B&S talent in addition to its mitigation. If Blizz didn’t want Holy priests to cast PW: S at all, they would have made the spell a Disc only talent. B&S has made it unique, but any priest who decides not to take those talents shouldn’t shy away for casting PW: S. It still can be a tank saver.
    Lunarsoul´s last blog ..Healing Heroics- Cataclysm StyleMy ComLuv Profile


    Oestrus Reply:

    I couldn’t agree more, Lunasoul!

    I also find that I’m seriously putting my foot in my mouth, regarding one of the new glyphs that is being tested on the PTR. I remember saying that I couldn’t find a use for the glyph that allows you to cast GS when stunned. Yeah… about that. I will be one of the first to beg one of our scribes to make that for me, when and if it’s released, because I see now that it can be a huge benefit to us. What was I thinking?!

    Lightwell also makes a huge difference on Halfus, during the stuns, because the Lightwell can be clicked while stunned, feared or otherwise immobilized. It may not be enough to keep the tank up completely, but a shield and some Lightwell Renew ticks could make a difference in the grand scheme of things.


    Gerek Reply:

    I see your point there. That is, however, one of the only encounters where it can actually save the tank (And from my experience, it’s not even needed). If you’re running with Disc priest, you should let them shield the tanks though.
    But you’re right, B&S is pretty much why it’s good for Holy. ^^


  6. Re Glyph of PoM:
    If you have the Spirit Redemption glyph as item, or learned glyph, wouldn’t that turn into a Glyph of PoM? I remember that some glyphs did become gray, but that others changed into a new glyph.

    I’ll also welcome the change to being able to queue to the lowest dungeons – yes, I levelled as Shadow – though on the other hand my guild is very nice and I could certainly go with them to try cata healing. Come, my sweet guinea-pigs. :)

    On the other hand I also like Shadow. I have refallen in love with it, after the heroin-like rush at discovering Shadow killpower at level 40. There are soem very interesting cast-sequences.

    Fröja, EU-ER


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