The state of Disc (Re: GC's PvE concerns)

90 Blood Elf Priest
9925
You know, I thought better of this. I'm getting bad at trying to articulate what I mean. Pardon me.
Edited by Khendra on 1/31/2013 3:40 PM PST
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90 Blood Elf Priest
13110
Khendra, I think the problem with what you're saying is that you're speaking from experience. And, while your experience may tell you that the "always be casting" model died in Cataclysm, I can tell you that you are incorrect about that. It may have died at the LFR level, but it is alive and well in normal and heroic content. If you're not casting something constantly - especially as Disc - then you are, indeed, doing it wrong.
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100 Blood Elf Priest
12515
The devs intend you to raid heal with PWS. I'm quite sure they're aware that means casting a lot of them all at once.

I mean...what, you're going to cast one or two PWSs on the raid before damage goes out? Sprinkle it around here and there in between Atonements? All that's going to do is muck up your PoH. They have to go out in at least groups of 5 for raidwide AoE. (In a 25 with 2 disc priests, you might have (some multiple of 5) plus 2 or 3, which is why 12 or 13 in 15 seconds might be useful.)

And unless you're clairvoyant, you're not going to hit the right targets for random damage, so you'd only use it for that if there are 1-2 targets who are going to die if they get hit (in which case Atonement might be a better option anyway most of the time because it won't get wasted if they don't get hit.)
Edited by Kaels on 1/31/2013 3:53 PM PST
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100 Blood Elf Mage
18065
01/31/2013 03:52 PMPosted by Kaels
I mean...what, you're going to cast one or two PWSs on the raid before damage goes out? Sprinkle it around here and there in between Atonements? All that's going to do is muck up your PoH.


I think you are correct about that. However, these are the same devs who said, in the same blue post mind you, that they do not want a return to "bubble spam". So idk, what do they mean? Bubbling 10 people in a row with a PoM here and there kind of sounds like bubble spam to me. One or two is what is going on now. Do they mean, what, 5 people or something? Your guess is as good as mine.
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90 Human Priest
11345
I assumed "raid healing with PW:S" meant that you would consider using PW:S during sustained (but not immediately life threatening) aoe more than just for rapture. On live, you would never do this.
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90 Blood Elf Priest
13110
01/31/2013 04:14 PMPosted by Amabella
I assumed "raid healing with PW:S" meant that you would consider using PW:S during sustained (but not immediately life threatening) aoe more than just for rapture. On live, you would never do this.


Um...that depends on your raid size. I've cast 3+ PW: Shield before some kind of incoming burst that I didn't have SS for.
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100 Blood Elf Priest
12515
01/31/2013 04:08 PMPosted by Taymage
I mean...what, you're going to cast one or two PWSs on the raid before damage goes out? Sprinkle it around here and there in between Atonements? All that's going to do is muck up your PoH.


I think you are correct about that. However, these are the same devs who said, in the same blue post mind you, that they do not want a return to "bubble spam". So idk, what do they mean? Bubbling 10 people in a row with a PoM here and there kind of sounds like bubble spam to me. One or two is what is going on now. Do they mean, what, 5 people or something? Your guess is as good as mine.

Well, bubble "spam" to me implies the same thing as PoH "spam": casting it constantly and indiscriminately, just going up and down groups and mashing that button until the boss dies.

Using AA Spirit Shell for one AoE, then maybe a PoH or two to recover, then some Atonement, then popping off 5-12 PWSs in the 15 seconds before the next AoE, then recovering with AA PoH and Atonement, then repeating...that doesn't sound like "spam" to me. That sounds like intelligent Disc play with the few effective tools you have available to you.
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90 Pandaren Priest
12925
01/31/2013 03:52 PMPosted by Kaels
The devs intend you to raid heal with PWS. I'm quite sure they're aware that means casting a lot of them all at once.


I'm not so sure.... SS has a 1 minute CD and in most encounters in this tier it's up for every raid-wide burst mechanic or at the very least every other one. Mass pre-shielding with PoH DA really isn't that valuable on most encounters. There are a few exceptions of course. The big reason bombing PoH everywhere is so prevalent is because the DA makes the spell absolute bull!@#$ and appropriate where it shouldn't be. It's also because of the Disc mana situation and in most of these encounters the DA is almost guaranteed to be consumed before it expires.

I think it's more likely they're trying to push us to do one of two things...

1. Throw out a handful of PW:S prior to mass burst mechanics when SS is down in situations where SS isn't available for all the bursts.

2. Constantly weave PW:S between cast-time abilities while putting instants on the BT buff for sustained damage.

Admittedly I haven't looked at any of the numbers personally. But with the 5.2 changes I'd be interested to see how #2, with a haste/mastery gearing approach, compares to the approach that is typical on live for sustained damage.

#1 is self explanatory. But again, I don't think it's going to be common if the 5.2 encounters are anything like the current encounters. I'm not sure we should really have the luxury of mass-preshielding outside of the SS CD anyway.
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100 Blood Elf Priest
12515
Well, I have a feeling they're going to have to do one of four things in 5.2 to keep up with gear scaling:

(a) Burst heavily more often than once/minute. Normal-mode healers are already handling once/minute damage bursts big enough to kill the raid without a ton of healing and probably a cooldown (on e.g. Wind Lord and Garalon), and we're doing so without enormous mana issues. If they take this approach, Spirit Shell will be down for some bursts and PWS blankets will be the obvious alternative since Disc PoH isn't good enough for a purely reactive response to this kind of damage.

(b) Do enormous amounts of sustained damage along with bursts. Again, this is already happening (Garalon) but will need to happen harder. The Disc response to this depends on the HPS and HPM comparison between PWS spam, PoH spam, and PWS/PoH weaving; it's about the only approach where PWS/PoH weaving and a Crit/Mastery spec makes sense.

(c) Make us run around a lot so that even if we have more than enough mana to heal the damage, we can't spend it. This was one of the Wrath approaches, and arguably the least successful one, although it does have the side bonus of buffing druids and nerfing paladins. The Disc approach to this, obviously, is lots of PWS.

(d) Tune enrage timers so strictly that a typical 10m group in entry gear at each difficulty has to 1.5-heal. This will work, and it will push Disc into heavy Atonement use with light use of PWS/SS, arguably at the expense of...pretty much everyone who's not a priest or monk. This approach has no precedent and is obviously problematic so I'm marking it "unlikely until proven otherwise."
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90 Troll Shaman
17270
A) Heavy burst every 30 seconds just means you need 2 Discs instead of 1. Seriously, classes other than disc don't have a strong way to prevent raid damage, especially physical damage.
B) Aura damage is most likely how things will go. Or near aura random raid damage like Feng/Empress.
C) The raid running constantly around kills shaman's more than paladins... If shaman's can't cast and use rain effectivity during heavy AoE they might as well reroll to something else even if it means -20 ilvls.
D) The tightness of enrage timers is 100% variable based on the group of people doing the raid. Their damage/current gear/comp str/weakness determines whether rDPS is needed from healers.
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90 Human Paladin
8740
I just laughed so hard trying to take you seriously. DA is just as big of a problem as SS and you don't even mention it. So you find disc is actually underpowered (minus SS)?

Hahahahahaha.
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I just laughed so hard trying to take you seriously. DA is just as big of a problem as SS and you don't even mention it. So you find disc is actually underpowered (minus SS)?

Hahahahahaha.


To be fair, though I very strongly disagree with the OP, we *won't* have the DA that is 'just as big of a problem as SS' in 5.2 which is what this thread is about.
Edited by Morenn on 2/1/2013 8:48 AM PST
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Just wanted to say this is an awesome discussion you guys are having, I have been following it closely. I'm terrible at theory crafting but I love reading these types of discussions.

I guess the OP was too embarrassed to come back to the conversation after claiming he was getting 30k rapture procs in DS o.O
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100 Blood Elf Priest
11305
Just wanted to say this is an awesome discussion you guys are having, I have been following it closely. I'm terrible at theory crafting but I love reading these types of discussions.

I guess the OP was too embarrassed to come back to the conversation after claiming he was getting 30k rapture procs in DS o.O


Yeah, I don't think the OP had any idea what he was talking about as far as balance concerns go. He is probably just a newbie Priest (newbie, as in, hasn't been around 6 or 7 years), and he's having typical feelings of abject terror and anxiety whenever Blizzard announces Priest changes. But once you've been around for a while, you start to learn that there's a difference between the "letter of the law" for priests, and the "spirit of the law." People who are only interested in the letter of the law usually go for maximum output for minimum effort. They're also usually the people who get upset about these kinds of changes.

The original intention (the spirit of the law) for Spirit Shell during MoP Beta Testing was to give Priests a new shield spell with a cast time. For a few beta builds, it replaced Greater Heal. For a few more, it replaced Flash Heal. However, realizing that we still needed healing spells, and not just shields, Blizzard changed Spirit Shell again to its current design.

The letter of the law is what the OP is following. He wants to be able to spam extremely powerful AoE shields across the raid every 1 minute. But that was never the intention, and it violates the spirit of the law which said "We want to give Discipline a new shield spell which uses a cast time, rather than a cooldown."

In order to understand this, we have to go back to Wrath of the Lich King days. Back then, PW: Shield had a 30 second duration, and the absorb was about 25% of the average tank's total health pool (which was 40-50% of everybody else's health pool). Rapture worked once every 12 seconds, but it stacked. So putting 10 shields on people before a large AoE burst would cause Rapture to activate 10 times if all 10 shields were destroyed at the same time. There was infinite mana regen because of this (and other things). So Discipline did nothing but spam PW: Shield on everybody, all the time. So in Cataclysm, Blizzard changed how healing worked for all classes.

In that change, they nerfed PW: Shield so badly that nobody ever used it. The duration was still 30 seconds, but the absorb was tiny (around 10% of your health pool, where it had been 40% - 50% before). It sucked horribly for all of the first Cata patch. Then they reduced the duration of PW: Shield by 50% to 15 seconds, increased the mana cost, and doubled the Absorb number. The reasoning was that if it didn't last but 15 seconds, and cost a lot more mana, you couldn't spam it on very many people before it faded away. And it worked for a while.

Then comes Mists of Pandaria, when all spells became a certain percentage of your maximum mana pool. PW: Shield kept its high mana cost and short duration, and Spirit Shell was added to give more shielding options. But because mana regen is so different now, and PW: Shield was so expensive, nobody used it anymore. They just used Spirit Shell and normal heals.

So all of that led to what we have slated for the next patch. The letter of the law makes Discipline seem like Spirit Shell is the way we're supposed to heal (or prevent) raid damage. But the spirit of the law has always been that we are supposed to alternate PW: Shield and Prayer of Healing. That's why we have Borrowed Time, so our heals cast a little bit faster when we toss them in between shield spells.

Anyway, that is all the reasoning behind the upcoming 5.2 changes. If anybody does not understand this, and they think it's unfair, they simply need to come and read this post. People like to play number games and theorycraft all the time, but they do so under the false assumption that math, statistics, and science are the most important aspects of understanding the way the game is developed; but they're not even close. Personal history and intuition tend to play a much larger role than anything else.
Edited by Ångel on 2/1/2013 1:00 PM PST
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100 Blood Elf Priest
12515
But the spirit of the law has always been that we are supposed to alternate PW: Shield and Prayer of Healing. That's why we have Borrowed Time, so our heals cast a little bit faster when we toss them in between shield spells.

If this is the intent (and I don't think you're wrong, I just think the tea leaves of Disc are particularly hard to read, so I wouldn't bet on any particular interpretation, but if you are right) then it will never, ever, ever work so long as PWS is a single-target absorb with a short duration, PoH is a party-targeted heal, and damage often comes out in bursts.
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100 Draenei Priest
10020
02/01/2013 01:52 PMPosted by Kaels
But the spirit of the law has always been that we are supposed to alternate PW: Shield and Prayer of Healing. That's why we have Borrowed Time, so our heals cast a little bit faster when we toss them in between shield spells.

If this is the intent (and I don't think you're wrong, I just think the tea leaves of Disc are particularly hard to read, so I wouldn't bet on any particular interpretation, but if you are right) then it will never, ever, ever work so long as PWS is a single-target absorb with a short duration, PoH is a party-targeted heal, and damage often comes out in bursts.


But, it works just fine for fights with moderate or high tank damage combined with constant raid damage auras that tick throughout the fight (ala Garalon) -- which Blizzard hasn't used much in T14, but prior to MoP, has been known to use extensively. I have no idea what T15 will be like (I haven't been on the PTR), but my gut says we'll see a lot more of this, simply because it's one of the few tools Blizzard has to challenge healers as we start to gain more and more spirit.
Edited by Treela on 2/2/2013 12:34 AM PST
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90 Blood Elf Priest
9925
Okay, now I've had an opportunity to put some other things aside, please let me explain my thoughts.

I don't mean that the "always be casting" concept is dead in that it doesn't exist, I mean that it is dead as the way it was presented and designed is no longer in practice.

The ABC model at the end of wrath stemmed from many things, not the least being encounter design and the lack of meaningful resource management. It was not just a priest problem. One of the largest design goals of the Cataclysm changes was to make both spell choice and resource management matter.

While I agree the ABC idea is still alive and well, I will disagree that is intentional, at least the way it currently exists for our spec. Two things that killed ABC for Discipline was the 3-heal system and Atonement. The "Heal" concept was supposed to support ABC, but in a manner that our spell choices had an impact on both our resource management and output. However, since its inception Atonement has supplanted "Heal" for our spec. This was not only allowed, but later on encouraged, to the point where Discipline as a spec has no use for 1/3 the 3-heal system that is a core tenant of the design goal for almost every other healer. To be fair, this system has also somewhat fallen by the wayside for all healers along with 'triage', but the bones of it can still be seen beneath most of the current design.

The effect this had, both in Cataclysm, currently on live, and most disturbingly on the PTR, is that there are quite literally periods where a Discipline priest is better of casting nothing than using the resources on some of our tools. Part of the PoH change is based on the fact that in it's live iteration, ABC exists almost solely because of PoH, because it is so powerful that casting anything else is making the wrong decision, and there's never a wrong time to cast it they way it currently functions.

Once again, the ABC system could and probably should exist, but not in the form it currently has- especially for Discipline. On live ABC means at this point you should always be casting PoH. Even with the changes reverted, the ABC model is still skewed because of PW:S and Atonement, and how far behind PoH currently is and how it interacts with our toolbox. There is still some work to be done to make our spell selection meaningful- this is why they're still fiddling with Binding Heal on the PTR and why it will likely be sooner than later that PoH is completely overhauled.
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90 Blood Elf Priest
13110
I don't understand how Atonement has "killed" the ABC system. I also don't understand how the ABC system means we should always be casting PoH. I think you're greatly mistaken in that respect.

Also, every other healer does not use the 3 heal model. Mistweavers never had it. Druids barely touch it (and I don't know any Druids casting a lot of Nourish). Shaman have a bit more use for the three heals, although I will say that in a raiding environment, Healing Wave just doesn't get the job done. However! It IS faster than Heal, Nourish, and Holy Light, as well as bringing extra benefits that other spells may not, so that figures into why it's used (and also is why we Atonement instead of using Heal!).

I'm really sorry, but I fundamentally disagree with what you're saying, and I don't understand where you're coming from. I honestly think you are confused. What you're saying makes no sense based on my raid experience in Wrath, Cataclysm, and current content. To be blunt, I think you're basing your statements on content like LFR and a few normal mode raid encounters, and that's not a good basis to be judging things by.
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90 Blood Elf Priest
9925
What I'm saying here is not based on experience, it is based on stated deisgn goals amalgamated from both Cataclysm and MoP betas, the PTR discussions, GC's statements on the forums and in tweets, and conversations here on this very forum.

The separation between design goals and your experience is, sadly, the worst failing of the Discipline spec; it is not being realized even close to what it is intended and also tends to exist outside of the grander 'healing' vision, which leads to the 'your heals are weak because you have absorbs'. The players keep finding ways of kludging it together, which invariably ends up in loops of nerfs and buffs just to balance the numbers, regardless of the actual cohesion.

As for Atonement killing the concept behind the intended use of "always be casting", it started with Heal and has since gone on a huge arc of eating other intended spells, much like PoH. On the PTR, Atonement with the recently buffed Penance has almost taken the place of the currently bloated PoH in that it is almost the best answer to everything. While Atonement isn't solely responsible for the death of the 3-heal model and meaningful spell decisions, it certainly didn't help. Like anything else, the idea has to be maintained and sadly it hasn't. Not that it was all that popular or effective anyway, but they do need to either stick to it or replace it with something else instead of letting it rot away. It was the foundation on which all pre-MoP healers was built and if they let it erode as it has, it's no wonder that so many of the healing specs are having issues with balance.

See, again I tend to wander and probably poorly express what I mean. My old writing professor is probably rolling in his grave. -.-
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90 Blood Elf Priest
13110
Khendra...the ABC model only died for heroics. It never died in actual content. It was alive and well in T11, T12, and T13. It didn't die in Cata, and they backpedaled on their expressed desire to see it go away. They made sure we couldn't stop casting or someone would die.

What exactly can you base your statements on other than personal experience? You're not a Dev. Despite what they may have said in previous posts, it's been a long while since a single dev has said, "the always-be-casting model is dead."
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