I found myself in a strange situation this morning, when, for some weird reason, some guild mates of mine began to speak condescendingly about discipline priests. The thought of the day was that we (I say “we” because discipline is a favorite, chosen spec for my priest healer) are not very viable for Icecrown Citadel because our heals are weaker compared to others. Is this truly the mentality among current gamers?
Perhaps this is just something born from ignorance and only a phenomenon in my current guild. I do hope, but in case it isn’t, I thought it would do well to iterate more closely on the benefits on having a discipline priest in your raid.
As a whole, discipline priests operate somewhere between tank and raid healers, as our abilities lend a helping hand to both of them. The first and obvious benefit is the proper use of PW:S. One discipline priest can easily sustain shields on a 10-man raiding team, starting with priority on tanks and then rest of the raid. It does not look sexy on recount but when it comes down to it, those shields mitigate a lot of damage. For two tanks, the priest can also sustain three stacks of Grace, each, which vastly improves the amount of heals the paladins can put on them. With bosses like Festergut, a single tank holding two of the Blood Princes, or 3rd phase of Professor Putricide, this can easily be a lifesaver. The stacks are easily applied with a single Penance per tank, and quickly reapplied with a single Flash Heal.
Speaking of which is the number one healing spell for our spec and is equally useful to helping out the paladin, when the tanks are taking big hits, or the raid healers when the whole takes chucks of damage. To this we can add Renew and Prayer of Mending that can be maintained to help out whenever possible and off cooldown. To add to all this, our spells also produce useful buffs like Renewed Hope and Divine Aegis.
Also what other healers lack, are useful cooldowns that can be applied to both the raid and thanks. First is Power Infusion, which is just as useful for yourself, or another healer, in case of an emergency or can be used for warlocks or mages when entering burn phases. Basically it acts like a 1-man Heroism. Last, but certainly not least, is Pain Suppression; an extra tank cooldown to save them when big hits keep landing and everything else fails.
When it comes to mana management, we rarily have issues. Like paladins, we have large mana pools and good measures in place to replenish it. In a 6 minute fight, I have squeeze off two Shadowfiends, if properly timed and in case I still risk running low, I can use Hymn of Hope.
So, what do you think? Does all of this sound completely useless? I think the lack of respect for discipline priests stems more from simply lack of understanding. We are, almost without exception, at the bottom of the statistics and a poor experience with a bad discipline healer can easily put you off. It is one of those specs that is more difficult to master – the same way that death knights and warriors are harder to play than paladins tanks.
I should maybe spend more time on my priest, considering this and just letting my guild mates see the benefits of my spec in action.