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 Post subject: Holy Priest Mana Management
PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:11 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:05 pm
Posts: 872
Location: Charlestown, MA
I had been having a lot of trouble healing as a priest in Cata, but this post really changed my outlook on Holy. If any of you guys have Holy priests who are having trouble with mana, you should definitely pore over this.

Dasuria's Guide to Healing Heroics as a Holy Priest

So, there's been a lot of talk lately on the forums about Priests and their ability to heal Heroics. I've been healing quite a few Heroics (you might be able to tell by taking a gander at my gear...) and I've come to the conclusion that, after really taking into consideration the general atmosphere of Cata healing, Priests are incredibly well suited for the task. Holy in particular has an incredible toolbox for handling almost all of the situations that you'll be struggling against. Learning how to adapt to the new laws of mana conservation is absolutely critical to being successful.

This guide assumes that you have a competent tank who isn't trying to steamroll Heroics like they were in Wrath, and that the same group that has this tank and yourself also has the required level of CC for maintaining trash pools. With proper use of CC, almost all damage on trash should be delegated to the Tank. Your DPS should also be watching for chances to interrupt spells and abilities being cast on the tank or on the raid. If there is no CC being done, or the tank is breaking CC, or your DPS is allowing high-damage spells or abilities to be cast, have a chat with them and educate them. If you wipe again after that because of any of these failures, do yourself a favor and leave the group. The 30 minute dungeon finder debuff will be much less of a headache than your continued wipefests.

Surprisingly enough to me, our most efficient Heal actually seems to come from maintaining the Serenity Chakra - that is, Holy Word: Serenity. It heals for more than Heal, costs less mana, and is instant cast. If the tank is at a point in their Health pool that they can fully benefit from a hit of this ability, use it first. Our second most efficient heal is... Heal! Use it liberally. Begin casting the spell right away and maintain its cast bar unless you need to be casting something else. If the spell is about to land on your target and they have 100% hp, cancel the spell and start casting again. I cannot stress how important it is to always have a heal being queued up. Unless you're moving, you should be casting, even if you're not allowing the spell to land.

To those that are struggling to maintain their mana pools, I'd suggest making sure that you're using a Spirit piece in every gearslot. It sounds redundant but even the smallest bit helps... and it helps a lot. Using Serenity Chakra is your best bet, for sure. Holy Word: Serenity is an 8-10k instant heal that is maintainable (1.5k mana? Yes, ma'am!), as well as giving your Heal greater crit chance. On top of that, using a Heal on a Renewed target refreshes Renew.

On fights with a fairly large amount of AoE damage (Rajh comes to mind), keeping Renew on the DPS and refreshing it with a Heal whenever they're >65% is incredibly easy and very mana efficient, especially if the Renew is a tick or two away from falling off of the target. Any time that the tank is fine in HP and I know there isn't going to be a big spike, I do take the time to refresh Renew via casting Heal on those targets, managing the aspect of triage (the most damaged person receives the Heal first). Remember that the longer that you can roll an effective Renew on your targets, the more mana efficient it becomes. (PS - Heal is cheaper than casting another Renew, too.)

Depending on the boss fight (Ammunae for me, especially, since he takes so long to kill), it can be beneficial to roll a Manafiend out early and use it to handle the first big AoE spike of the fight (Rampant Growth in this case). If using this strategy, you're going to want to make sure that you're going to be able to hit it later (meaning the fight is going to last at least 4 minutes) unless you know that your group handles managing their damage income well and you wont need to Fiend for mana.

Have a discussion with whoever is doing hero/timewarp/ancient hysteria and ask them not to pop it without giving you some kind of warning. Popping Fiend right before a lust, to ensure that it receives the benefit of the haste, can do worlds of difference. Also remember that Hymn of Hope increases your max mana pool when channeled and Fiend's attacks restore mana based on maximum mana pool. Consider popping these together if the tank is in no imminent danger.

There are very few occasions where you'll be casting Prayer of Healing in a Heroic. It simply costs too much mana to cast more than twice, and even two times is incredibly rough for the mana pool unless you're going to have some time afterwards to rest a little bit before you begin casting. I make an exception to this rule at specific points in encounters (when Rajh is channeling in the center of the room, for example). Before you cast PoH, take into consideration how much damage is really being done to the group and whether or not the damage is likely to be repeated at a later point in the encounter. If the damage is not likely to be repeated later in the encounter, don't be afraid to use Divine Hymn to handle large aoe damage. It's about half again as expensive as a single PoH but it heals for a much larger amount.

This basically covers the non-specific portions of fights, and serves as a general guide to handling the Heroic encounters of Cataclysm as a Holy Priest. If you have any questions, comments, ideas, or updates, please feel free to post below. Also, if you have any questions about how to handle specific fight encounters, please also feel free to ask.

Until then... Dasuria out!

Dasuria hits (and doesn't hit) a number of very important points that I want to emphasize. These are more critical for heroics/raids than normals, but they still apply.

#1: Everyone in the group needs to do his job.
When we talk about tanks playing like WotLK, we mean tanks that try to drag the party through hordes of mobs and proceed to 1) be surprised and 2) be angry that the group wiped. Steamrolling is a thing of the past, and a good party should be measured in pace, control aggro and dps, and make the most of available CCs. That leads us to point #2...

#2: Be a quitter.
You may think this bullet is for general lulz purposes, but it isn't. If you're in a pug with an obstinate tank who can't let go of the past and DPS that like to warm their buns in the fire, gtfo of there. You can't change stupid.

#3: Ask for/to help.
If you don't know the fight, ask for an explanation. If you do know, ask others if they know. If you wipe, don't go in again without evaluating what went wrong and how you (and the rest of the party) can improve.

#4: Chakra is your friend.
Chakra is (should be) the reason we specced into Holy, and Serenity should be up at all times. Get State of Mind 2/2 and keep spamming Heal, even when people are near the top. Cancel it (preferably with a non-movement method) before it hits if your target is full. Your goal is to keep your Chakra going as long as possible. Since Holy and Disc priests now regen 50% while casting, you can afford to do this. Try to avoid re-casting Chakra unless you have to toggle with Sanctuary for an AoE phase.

#5: Holy Word: Serenity > Heal > all other spells.
Holy Word: Serenity is an extremely mana-efficient heal (~90% more efficient than even Heal), and you should use it as often as you can. If you can afford to, spam Heal at all other times. Remember that in the Serenity Chakra, your Heals refresh Renew. If you have to switch off the tank to spread heals, be sure to switch back to keep Renew from falling off.

If your target is dropping quickly, you have a few options. If the target is in immediate danger of death, pop Guardian Spirit. In some situations, you may want to let the sacrifice trigger instead of limping along with chain Heals that wear out the duration. In all other situations, your first response should be throwing out Prayer of Mending. If there isn't a Disc priest, consider using Power Word: Shield. Immediately thereafter, if you don't think Heal will be enough, use one or two Flash Heals.

Imho, Greater Heal is inferior to Flash Heal. Its HPM (heal/mana) is 40% higher than Flash Heal, but its HPS (heal/sec) is 60% lower! The only reason you wouldn't be able to rely on Heal is if the tank is going down too fast. In that situation, you should use the spell with the highest HPS. Also, Flash Heal has the best HPMS (heal/mana-second) out of the three, whereas Greater Heal has the worst.

Also, be sure Serenity is hitting the right target. For some reason, mine seems to sporadically think that I'm not targeting anyone, and since I (used) to have automatic self-cast on, it would overheal me instead of healing the tank. Frustrating.

#6: Lightwell.
Cast Lightwell while prepping for each boss fight and encourage your ranged groupmates to use it liberally. If not a free heal, Lightwell is the most efficient healing spell in the game.

#7: More spirit! Less crit!
Vicious copypasta from EJ:
1. Get as much Intellect as you can through higher item level gear.
2. Make sure every item has Spirit as a secondary stat, and gem/enchant/reforge for enough spirit to feel comfortable.
3. Get enough Haste to have 12.5% raid buffed.
4. Stack Mastery.
5. Avoid Crit, which has the worst conversion factors, and is devalued further by our talents to increase it.

When we first reach level 85, spirit is king. As you progress through normal dungeons and then heroics, you will start to feel more comfortable with your regen and it will be time to take more serious look at your other stats. After spirit you want to prioritize haste and mastery. Now that HoT's scale with haste, Renew gets an extra tick at 12.5%. After this point haste falls slightly behind mastery in our priorities.

#8: Make the most out of your Shadowfiend.
Shadowfiends provide 3% of your total mana pool each time they attack; they last 15 seconds on a 5-minute CD. You need to use your Shadowfiend strategically, which may sometimes entail spawning it near the beginning of a fight (especially one lasting longer than 5 min). There are two important things to remember about Shadowfiends: one, the mana gain is on a percentage basis; two, the mana gain occurs after every attack and is not related to damage. This means that you can increase total mana gained by increasing the size of your mana pool or the fiend's attack speed.

For this reason, to maximize mana gained, you should fully channel Hymn of Hope before sending out your Shadowfiend. Hymn of Hope increases three party/raid members' mana pools by 15% and grants each of them 4 ticks of 2% mana each. In most cases, the hymn will increase your maximum mana, amplifying the fiend's mana generation.

As Dasuria mentioned, have party members warn you before they pop haste-based effects like Heroism and Time Warp. You should try to spawn your fiend shortly beforehand so it can gain the effect of the haste.

#9: AoE is not your friend.
Holy priests have poor AoE mana efficiency. When the group is taking damage, if at all possible, continue chaining Heals with Holy Word: Serenity within Chakra: Serenity. Prayer of Mending and Circle of Healing can aid greatly, as well. Avoid using Chakra: Sanctuary or Prayer of Healing unless you know that the damage is going to be spread consistently and too high to offset with Heals. If you do use Chakra: Sanctuary, try to include as many party members as possible in its radius. If you don't believe that you'll need it later, Divine Hymn is a high-efficiency spell that can work wonders. Do not try to spread Renew around; it is not efficient enough without Heal refreshes to use as an AoE equivalent.

#10: Glyph it!
You should definitely have glyphs of Renew, Prayer of Healing, and Circle of Healing. For the remaining Prime, I recommend Lightwell (+5 charges). Power Word: Shield and Guardian Spirit are just too situational. For the two remaining Majors, I recommend Dispel Magic and Mass Dispel. Everything else is either situational, PvP-related, or just not useful.

[This was republished from a guildies-only forum.]

 Post subject: Re: Holy Priest Mana Management
PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:58 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:05 pm
Posts: 872
Location: Charlestown, MA
Pre-4.1 Updates

Priest AoE is constantly being reworked. Due to a few of the interim patches, Circle of Healing has become more effective (in general) than Prayer of Healing, ignoring the CD. Keep it on cooldown when the group is taking damage. Prayer of Healing has also been (effectively) buffed, so you should consider using it (potentially with Flash Heals to decrease cast time) to keep rolling mastery hots on pressured groups.

Updates for 4.1

  • Chakra lasts until canceled. This is a huge buff to both ease of play and priest AoE. Now that we don't need to mash Chakra, Priest are much more flexible to change between single-heal focus and AoE-heal focus.
  • HW: Sanctuary heals 35% harder. A much-needed buff, but be wary. Some priests have reported that it actually heals less than before, possibly (read: hopefully) due to a bug.
  • Innate pushback protection for Hymns. No more need to PW:S yourself first, though you can still do that anyway. This is pretty helpful, especially when the GCDs get tight.
  • PW:S duration has been halved (to 15s). Note that Weakened Soul's duration has also been decreased appropriately. One could consider this a nerf, but it's more subtle than that. Blizz is trying to restructure the use of this spell so it's more of an on-need damage mitigation tool instead of a blanket group protection. Lowering the duration (while keeping mana cost the same) means that it is less effective for preventing raid/group damage and more effective for preventing tank damage (since your max absorption per second has basically doubled). In my opinion, this is a buff to Holy and a nerf to Disc.
  • All of the lightwell model is clickable now.
  • Other stuff below.
Transcribed patch notes:
* [Divine Aegis] duration has been increased to 15 seconds, up from 12.
* [Dispel Magic] can only be used on the casting priest as a baseline effect.
* Priests now innately have 100% pushback protection from damage while channeling [Divine Hymn] and [Hymn of Hope].
* [Holy Fire] damage has been increased to be approximately 30% higher than [Smite].
* [Inner Will] and [Inner Fire] now last until canceled.
* [Mind Sear] damage has been doubled.
* [Power Word: Shield] duration has been reduced to 15 seconds, down from 30.
* Talent Specializations
o Discipline
+ [Absolution] (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.
+ [Atonement] now works with Holy Fire in addition to Smite.
+ The direct damage portion of [Holy Fire] can now trigger [Evangelism].
+ [Power Word: Barrier]'s cooldown has been increased to 3 minutes, up from 2, and its effect has been reduced to 25%, down from 30%.
+ It is now possible to remove Weakened Soul effects that were a result of another priest's Power Word: Shield through [Strength of Soul].
o Holy
+ [Absolution] (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.
+ [Chakra] now lasts until canceled, up from 1 minute.
+ [Holy Word: Sanctuary] healing done has been increased by 35%. In addition, it has a new spell effect.
+ [Surge of Light] can now also trigger from [Binding Heal].
* Glyphs
o [Glyph of Divine Accuracy] now also affects Holy Fire in addition to Smite.
* Priest Bug Fixes
o The entire pillar of light of the [Lightwell] can now be interacted with, instead of just the base.
o [Mind Flay] should no longer lose a tick of damage when the last tick is clipped by another Mind Flay cast.
o Casting an instant [Mind Blast] immediately following a [Mind Spike] should no longer cause Mind Blast to not benefit from the last cast of Mind Spike.
o Shadowy Apparitions now benefit from the priest's spell penetration.
o [Surge of Light] is now being applied to Smite at rank 1.
* Priest Known Issues
o The [Shadowfiend] summon does not always attack targets effectively.

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