Throughput issues

Brand new 90 priest, just got 90 Saturday night. I realize the obvious answer is "get more gear" but I feel like I'm missing something... fundamental.

First, this isn't my "healing" gear. It's not terribly different, I use the Price of Progress, and Gustwalker staff and PVP/spirit shoulders, so I have a lot more spirit than shows up on the armory, but I logged out after dailies.

I leveled and played as disc, and was happy, but as soon as I went into my first heroic, I have having major issues keeping both the group and the tank alive. POH was healing for like 20K, POM would hit a melee or 2 then bounce to me and sit there, and nothing I was doing was enough to save the DPSers from themselves.

I healed at 70 as a (different) priest, as holy and was pretty successful, and through Wrath as a resto druid and had a lot of fun, so I thought I'm just more suited to reactive healing and switched to Holy.

Holy was way better, no more mana problems, casting COH on cooldown with a few POHs+ the HOT was enough for all but the worst DPSers, but now I was having trouble keeping tanks alive. Gheal took too much mana, but heal wasn't enough to keep up with large incoming damage, using Chakra+Renew+COH was enough most of the time, but it required my full-tme attention on the tank.

So, I swapped to FDCL, since I was spamming Heal anyway, having the utility to throw instant, mana free heals that hit quite hard on any member I needed to was extremely useful for me. It also had the benefit of proccing serendipity, so I could cast POH or Gheal faster.

Now, my mana is doing fine and my throughput is much improved, but I feel like I'm doing it "wrong." I still have lots of trouble in AOE situations where everyone is taking lots of damage (Like Xin) or time when the tanks take big spike damage and I don't have and FDCL procs ready. I also know this strat won't fly in a raid.

So, any advice for a newbie priest, trying to keep people alive, sometimes despite their best efforts.
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90 Blood Elf Priest
7730
Heroics are tuned to be able to use quest greens (Dread Wastes) and you can get by with the entire party playing well. That being said, gear will help tremendously, especially since you said you feel that GHeal takes too much mana, the increased mana regen from better gear will then help to boost up your throughput because you can actually spend mana without worrying about OOMing yourself.

To address the stupid people... Well stupid is as stupid does. In actuality, I think that's the big issue. If the tank is going to die because a DPS can't get out of anything, let them die -shrug-; that being said you need to try to heal them when you can, even if they are stupid, you are a healer after all. Despite your best efforts, if someone is oblivious (or trollish) enough to stand in an aoe and not notice the damage... Don't blame yourself. I've done it a few times; Rattlegore is the best example, you go in and the DPS don't pick up Bone Shield and get hit for half their health, you heal them up, they get hit again with no Bone Shield, after seeing others getting hit by Spike but having a Shield and taking significantly less damage... Yeah I'm not wasting mana. I know it sounds bad, but you can't spend mana on stupid all the time, especially if stupid isn't doing enough DPS and Rattlegore is taking huge chunks out of the tank's health because of soft enrage.

To talk about your healing, I stay in Serenity for 5 Mans just because there are very few fights that I feel that Sanctuary is worth the drop in single target healing. HW:S is a great heal to refresh Renew on the tank with, it's relatively cheap and heals for a good portion. I used to use FDCL but I felt that it was too RNG for me and that Mindbender works the best for me. Double Flash Heal and then double stack Serendipity Greater Heal should get you through the worst of the tank damage in Heroics if he/she isn't a bad tank. It isn't only up to you to help with tank survival though, the tank needs to be actively mitigating the damage so you have less to heal up by way of CDs or just playing better. Don't be afraid to use CDs yourself either, DH is a tremendous skill to use in times you think you won't be able to keep up with the damage. Glyphed PoM is helpful in Heroics if you know you can heal up the (non-stupid) AoE damage, since the first charge will be 60% more effective healing the tank.
Edited by Kyyraa on 11/19/2012 4:41 PM PST
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90 Human Priest
11690
One thing that i have noticed this expansion is priests seem to take a much larger hit to lack of gear than most other healing classes. I had the same problem as you and now I can run 5 man heroics without ever casting a single heal. I just atonement heal the whole thing and pull 40k dps while doing so.

In my experience you should def be specced into mindbender and using it on cd. I don't have to do this in 5 mans at my current ilvl, but you will have to. I am assuming you are aiming to be disc. If that is the case make sure you are keeping pom on cd for aoe healing your party and make ample use of POH. When people are topped off and you know damage will be incoming soon start using spirit shell(coupled with POH) so you can practice getting used to the mechanic. This will be a very important thing when you start raiding. Priests are very strong imo, even with all the supposed "gimp" talk. I'm not doing heroic raids yet, but I am my guilds strongest healer and we are 6/6 mv and 4/6 HOF. This is my first expansion playing priest and i still have alot to learn myself, so take my advice with a grain of salt. Hopefully some more experienced priests can validate and expand upon some of the things i've said.

Overall dont get discouraged. Although heroics are made to be healed in quest items, doing so as a priest is alot more challenging than as other healers. I have a resto shammy, resto druid, and h pally all at level 90 too so I know this from experience. Hang in there, hope i was somewhat of a help. Light be with you =).
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90 Blood Elf Priest
9925
Some general tips;

Disc swings far more wildly on mana recovery based on spirit than any other healing class, too little and you will be OOM very quickly. The magical breakpoint seems to be around 9k and is noticibly better at 10k. This has everything to do with Rapture.

Atonement is extremely mana intensive. Smite is very costly and heals very little compared to any of our other heals (its HPM is lower than Flash Heal) so use it sparingly, if at all. Holy Fire is good to use on cooldown and even Penance is great offensively.

If you're hurting for mana, try not to cast PW:S outside of Rapture. But also try to keep Weakened Soul on one target as often as possible. Again, this has everything to do with Rapture.

Now some specific tips;

Price of Progress is actually very bad for Disc, as it procs straight mana and not spirit. We get far more return from spirit because of Rapture. You're actually going to get more mana return from your Dragonling than PoP. Try and swap that for a Fruit Barrel, or better a Vial of Ichorous Blood.

During heroic dungeons you will probably not have the mana to cast Smite for Atonement, but you will likely have more than enough time to use Power Word: Solace very effectively. This will let you contribute damage and use more of your big hitting spells like GHeal more often. In raids, you won't have casting time to bother with PW:Solace so you can also practice getting the timing on Mindbender down if you like. FDCL is for people with mana and casting time to spare.

I would highly suggest getting Power Infusion and macroing it to Spirit Shell. This is good for both more SS and less being OOM when you use it.

You will get a lot of spirit when you start getting more gear with gem slots; pants, shoulders, belt. The Honor Point pants and shoulders have gems slots while the crafted gear doesn't, if you're having terrible luck with drops in heroic dungeons but have JP/Honor to spare. Klaxxi has the best belt you can get quickly.

Since you're a tailor with Darkglow, make sure you try and cast PW:S when it procs for a Rapturegasm while it's active. :)

Above all, good luck and have fun!
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