Hi all! I'm not here to QQ about the nerfs but I'd much rather get some info or tips from fellow Disc Priests on tackling these nerfs.
With the overall reduction in atonement healing, which I worked into my overall healing rotation, I am finding that my heals have not significantly dropped but are much lower than even I and my co-healers expected. I want to find out what you guys are doing to combat this reduction in...what appears to be overall healing.
It's a 10% nerf to Atonement overall, and a change to Penance making it more beneficial to directly heal with it than to use it for pure damage all the time. This should not be impacting your overall healing very much at all.
Currently I have switched from Crit prioritizing to Mastery prioritizing as it seems Disc priests are being herded back into mainly direct healing. On average, the transfer to mastery from crit has generally reduced the strength of the heals however my bubbles are only....slightly stronger and by that, I mean by about a factor of 4k increase to the bubbles i was making.
You actually have more Mastery than I do. xD Your non-Crit healing should actually be stronger, because Mastery doesn't just affect absorbs, it also
affects the direct heals you cast (although by a much smaller degree). There are a couple of upgrades you could pick up that would help both with raw primary stats and secondary stats. The 522 bracers and Ring from the SPA are available at Friendly. You're Honored, so you also have access to the Chest, Gloves, Belt, and Pants. They don't have the best stat allocations, but between the gem slots and reforging (plus the raw stat upgrade), it should help with the strength of your heals, and your ability to maintain your desired Mastery build.
The main issue I have with the mastery build is that my cast times (aside from utilizing borrowed time) are long....long enough at least in my opinion for another healer to snipe heal while casting. (although I've seen alot of talk about PW:S spamming) Does anyone think there is a viable haste build to help reduce this? Is this even a possibility, and if so will I see and increase or decrease in healing output? Just curious.
Haste always increases throughput where cast times are concerned. One of the reasons Smite is more valuable than Heal is that, although it heals for slightly less and costs slightly more (without Evangelism), it's so much faster than Heal that it ends up doing more overall healing. The only "Haste Breaks" that Disc is concerned with are the ones for Spirit Shell. The first you will get automatically as long as you have the 5% haste buff. The second is 6350 Haste, which is probably beyond your reach.
However, I see that you have a Holy spec. There is a Renew breakpoint at 3039 Haste, which you should be able to hit. My advice would be to advise you to reforge to 3039 Haste in case you play Holy, and see how the extra Haste feels. If you want more, try to hop up to 4717 (lightwell breakpoint) and see if that feels better, as well. The rest of your secondaries you should dump back into Mastery. Try that out for a week or so and see if you like the playstyle more.
If you don't, feel free to go back to heavy Crit. Honestly, there isn't enough difference between the various ways of balancing secondaries (High Crit, High mastery, low Haste; High Haste, High Mastery, low Crit; High Haste, High Crit, low Mastery; etc) to really say, "This is the only one and TRUE way to reforge." The top question you should have is, "Which playstyle do I enjoy the most." Because what you -enjoy- will normally yield you the best results.
General tips on healing strategy and examples would be greatly appreciated, as I have not experienced issues this large with my priest in quite a while.
Exploit damage modifier bosses. Don't be afraid to use Flash Heal or Defensive Penance if someone is dropping quickly. Keep PoM on CD. Make sure you have a shield on the tank at all times. If you don't have a CD for incoming raid damage, don't be afraid to bubble people who are low health. Watch boss mod timers and plan ahead for Spirit Shell use. If you don't think you will be using Atonement 100% of the time in a fight, Mindbender may work better for you than Solace would. I usually macro Archangel, Inner Focus, and Power Infusion to Spirit Shell, and use them all together.
I apologize if I'm rambling or if anything makes no sense. It's 3am here and I just realized I'm falling asleep at the keyboard. :) I've probably left something out. lol