[PvE] BfA Discipline Priest Feedback

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(cross post from https://us.battle.net/forums/en/wow/topic/20762288286 )

Good morning (or afternoon depending where you are and when you’re reading this).

I’m Mend, co-admin and webmaster for Focused Will (a Discipline Priest community, focusedwill.com/) and guide author for the Icy Veins Discipline Guide. The current state of Discipline in Alpha/Beta has been overall close to the same playstyle we have today with some less bells and whistles we had due to the removal of Light’s Wrath. This isn’t really of major concern because I think this is the current state of any spec after losing many of the traits from the artifacts as well as the artifact abilities themselves. However, I think Discipline needs some work in regards to Mastery and several of the talents in order to remain competitive with other healing spec's in Battle for Azeroth.

I believe Discipline in Beta right now is about 80% of the way to being in good shape, with some minor tweaks still being needed. As a group, we’ve determined a few specific things that need some attention before BfA goes live (second post).
Mastery - Discipline Mastery is in pretty rough shape right now. After some discussion as a group, we think that adding Smite into Mastery might make the stat more enticing and balance out our stat priority a bit. As it stands right now, Mastery is not worth taking and would likely be overlooked as a secondary stat in favor of Crit, Haste, and Vers.

Schism - This ability has seen some changes recently and conceptually has a place in this row. The duration / cooldown need tweaked a bit to make it a sound choice to compete with Castigation / ToF. Right now at 9 seconds duration and a 24 second cooldown, it’s hard to really fit it in anywhere meaningful that would make it more ideal than ToF or Castigation in raids or dungeons. Adding a couple more seconds to the duration would allow us to fit in two Penance casts, which would likely make this worth taking.

Body and Soul - With the change to only being able to proc every 6 seconds, this talent would likely not be chosen over Angelic Feather (for movement purposes).

Power Word: Solace - Even with some of the buffs it received in previous Alpha builds, this talent still doesn’t really come out from beneath the shadows of the other two choices. As in Legion, Shield Discipline and Mindbender will always be better options for PvE content. I think Power Word: Solace could have a place in our toolkit as a more mobile friendly damage spell on movement-heavy encounters. The damage from the ability would need to be increased, cooldown decreased or mana return increased to make it worth choosing.

Lenience - This talent would likely be taken for raids 100% of the time. The talent is also… how do I say this... boring. There really isn’t any choice being made as a Disc Priest when going into raids of which talent on this tier is best, Lenience takes the cake (in terms of utility for the raid) but doesn’t actually provide much of any increase in (actual) throughput or provide any added benefit besides a passive damage reduction. I think we’d all prefer talent rows that made us choose between 3 talents that would work in different situations and provide us an additional level of strategy going into an encounter. Lenience just fits into a cookie-cutter build that isn’t far off from what we already do today.

Orison - This talent seems weak right now, but the concept is fine. Might need a numbers buff before BfA goes live, but because it’s in the same tier as Lenience, we’re not likely to take this in raids (unless we just wanted to improve our parses I guess).

Divine Star - Conceptually, the level 90 row is in good shape. You have Purge the Wicked for encounters where you need sustained healing and have multiple adds to cleave the DoT to. Halo is great for burst healing on encounters where you may not have multiple adds or sustained damage to cover. Divine Star would fit into an encounter where you have the raid stacked for a majority of the encounter with frequent bursts every 15 seconds or so to maximize its use. Pulling off hitting every target twice with every cast of Divine Star isn’t easy nor possible in every encounter, making Halo just easier to use in a similar situation. There are too many variables that would make Divine Star more difficult to get benefit from, but I think reducing the mana cost for Divine Star would make it more likely to be used, and generally balance out this tier.

Luminous Barrier - The idea behind this talent is sound, giving us an option to use this talent choice as an option in encounters where we are spread for most of the encounter. It’s also good in groups larger than ~18-20 people, so for LFR/Normal/Heroic content it might be worth considering. However, there are a couple major concerns regarding it, of which make it almost never taken in any competitive content (Mythic specifically). Firstly for raids, it needs to beat out Evangelism. This alone is a tall task and unlikely to happen. Secondly for raids, Power Word: Barrier needs to have little to no place to be used. This also is unlikely, but still more common than Evangelism not being worth taking. For dungeons, Grace is still our go-to and Luminous Barrier seems to be a weak choice for 5 man content.

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I know this ended up becoming a laundry list of issues, but we do have some concerns that we’d like to see addressed with Discipline going into BfA. I think the current state of Disc in Beta is in a decent place, but I think our Mastery and talents would need some additional work for us to be on an equal playing field as other healers in the new expansion.

Thanks,
- Mend and staff from Focused Will
I started another thread and missed this one so I will repost here. I just had a similar complaint to Lenience.

I do still like the concept of atonement reducing damage; however, if it is as a talent then I worry it will be either just the absolute best talent or not worth taking in its position against two throughput increases. In it's place I was thinking Power of the Dark side from the artifact. I think the interaction could change such as make it a proc off of a heal to encourage the heal to damage dynamic as well as making it a good choice in the 75 talent tier.

Other than that I wanted to harp on Power Word: Solace for a minute, I have used it for the entire expansion without complaint. I have tested the other options and I find MindBender to give less mana and less damage than PW: Solace so long as you are able to use it on/close to CD. I prefer Mindbender for dungeons since you do get better output per pack of mobs, but in a raid setting Solace always wins out. And if I don't need extra mana in a fight then Shield Discipline is unnecessary. I'm not saying other people need to use it by any means, just that if Solace were buffed it may be far too useful over the other options.

More broadly for the spec, my only big concern going into BfA is I don't want absorbs to consume the playstyle again.

Other than that I wanted to harp on Power Word: Solace for a minute...

The issue here is that is that you can't just compare the mana and the damage on the talents alone. One of the real reasons solace isn't really used in PvE anymore is because it forces you to use on CD to be competitive, while simply just not offering enough in return for optimal play. The evang+velens gameplay just heavily favors MB completely, and while we lose velens evang still exists and MB is stupidly strong right now on beta so making your atonement/evang window stronger is definitely much better than the slight mana gain from solace. It's just a very out of place talent with our rotation no longer having Holy Fire in it.


More broadly for the spec, my only big concern going into BfA is I don't want absorbs to consume the playstyle again.

This is a potential issue. PW:S on it's own is likely fine for now, the big issue in my opinion is going to be rapture and/or any buff to our current mastery.
I really really am dissatisfied by the lack of buttons. Now that Light's Wrath, with Plea as well being removed. I feel like Discipline priests been overly simplified to minimal options. But I'll cut down to the examples I've mostly grown concerned for.

Baseline Abilities:
The lack of abilities is a bit disturbing. Discipline priests have the following for offensive:
Smite
Shadow Word: Pain
Penance
Holy Nova

I appreciate the return of Holy Nova; returning our AoE damage and healing which is a much welcome return. Wheree as our healing kit has dropped. I would recommend adding something like Greater heal for a slow single target heal that can add plea. Or not.

Power Word: Radiance
Shadow Mend
Penance

I understand that Atonement is the main source of healing. And the talents give some more options. But I feel there's little source for Plea application.

Talent Feedback:

  • Luminous Barrier feels like a downgrade to Power Word: Barrier. It is a raid-wide CD that shields everyone for a rather laughable amount. 1000 hp absorb is embarrassing where I'll take a damage reduction for burst/stack mechanics over a 3 minute shield.

    I would add the effect that applies Plea to all characters along with the barrier. allowing you to heal everyone effected by Luminous Barrier to make it an effective Cooldown replacement to Power Word: Barrier
  • Lenience's talent is a very weak choice for a 3% damage reduction. This worked as it was empowered by Light's Wrath's traits. You could upgrade it where it had a stronger worth. But in this version, it can't be noticed. I would've preferred making the PvP Talent; Strength of Soul the talent. Perhaps add the separate cooldown to PW:S

    "Your Power Word: Shield instantly heals targets for [ 350% of Spell Power ] and reduces all Physical damage taken by 20% while the shield persists."
  • I had about half a post worth of notes I was going to turn into feedback, but Mend basically said everything I was going to. Cheers for doing the work for me Mend :D
    04/26/2018 04:42 PMPosted by Chalices
    Lenience's talent is a very weak choice for a 3% damage reduction. This worked as it was empowered by Light's Wrath's traits. You could upgrade it where it had a stronger worth. But in this version, it can't be noticed.


    The issue with Lenience is that it's too powerful for raiding, not that it's too weak. 3% DR on anyone who ever has Atonement in a raid can lead to a lot of "hidden HPS" through reducing damage over the encounter. I makes it almost impossible to choose anything other than that talent for raids, making our selection of talents in that tier rather lacking and boring.
    04/26/2018 10:55 AMPosted by Mendpriest
    Body and Soul - With the change to only being able to proc every 6 seconds, this talent would likely not be chosen over Angelic Feather (for movement purposes).


    It really just feels awkward to have a 6 second hidden cooldown tied to a zero cooldown ability. It will naturally lead to the talent being on CD when you want it because you're not going to stop casting PW:S to save a mini sprint.

    In the holy thread we were talking about baseline feathers. Maybe the best thing would just be for both disc and holy to have baseline feathers and just replace that entire row with survival talents for both specs.

    I also think Purge the Wicked is a fairly boring talent, even though it is popular. I think its functionality and increased duration should simply be baked into SW:P baseline and the talent could be replaced with something else. Currently I would take it a lot for smaller group content, but only because the other two talents are lackluster in smaller group content. Shadow Covenant might still be desired for certain M+ affixes and could be a good talent on an AoE row as a replacement.

    04/26/2018 05:01 PMPosted by Mendpriest
    04/26/2018 04:42 PMPosted by Chalices
    Lenience's talent is a very weak choice for a 3% damage reduction. This worked as it was empowered by Light's Wrath's traits. You could upgrade it where it had a stronger worth. But in this version, it can't be noticed.


    The issue with Lenience is that it's too powerful for raiding, not that it's too weak. 3% DR on anyone who ever has Atonement in a raid can lead to a lot of "hidden HPS" through reducing damage over the encounter. I makes it almost impossible to choose anything other than that talent for raids, making our selection of talents in that tier rather lacking and boring.


    I think it would also become the automatic choice in M+ dungeons.

    I think it should just be a baseline passive. We had it via the artifact in Legion and it was a nice perk for high level content. In M+ even with that 3% DR Disc still didn't dethrone paladins or druids in M+ content, so it doesn't seem like we should have to give up a talent row to keep it.
    The whole issue with orison vs lenience is purely just a math problem. You really just pick the talent that results in the highest total hps, but people usually are not going to pick the correct choice (lenience) because the healing done by lenience is not shown on the hps meters.
    I am also underwhelmed by the number to buttons I get to mash. It was already thin and now no Atonement or Light's Wrath.

    I believe Schism is triggering some sort of cleave which is aggroing unintended mobs. The animation is a red cleave and a knife swish sound. Also having some trouble with Penance spreading Purge/Pain to unintended mobs so I am aggroing things nearby I don't really care to engage. I think this used to be a talent. These things make single target harder.
    I don't understand why Holy Nova was added. I thought part of the reason Blizzard chose the Mastery they did is because it might allow them to add AoE damage abilities without breaking Atonement healing if most of it is tied to Penance.

    The reality is that Holy Nova is so numerically weak it's useless. It has triple the mana cost of Smite and does less damage than it unless hitting 5+ targets. It could use a buff to make it worth using at 3+ targets and probably a mana cost reduction.

    Smite, SW:P and PtW feel useless to cast now. I'd honestly like to see Mastery increase all damage done rather than just Penance. The current Mastery creates more scaling and stat problems than it solves. It also makes the spec more convoluted and creates issues like making all non-Mastery spells feel incredibly weak. Casting something you know half your secondary stats don't effect isn't a fun feeling. Seeing a piece of gear and vendoring it just because it has Mastery isn't fun either.

    The removal of Shadow Covenant makes me question Disc's ability to heal Bursting/Grevious. Same for any M+ boss that requires serious burst AoE healing. Losing SC just creates a weak spot in the Disc toolkit that I feel doesn't have to be there.

    Atonement in small scale environments feels incredibly weak. This is mostly because of the Mastery change. For most people going from Live to BfA all non-Penance Atonement healing lost about 40% of it's power. Atonement healing needs some serious help. Either make Mastery effect all damage (ideally) or buff the base Atonement transfer significantly.

    Schism is basically just bad because it has the same duration as the CD on Penance, ensuring any Schism will only get 1 Penance cast. This was probably done to give flexibility to casting Schism. Any non-matching duration would require Penance to be off CD for each Schism cast to squeeze 2 Penances into each Schism. I'd like to see this duration remain to keep it flexible but the CD reduced to 18 seconds so it could be used for every second Penance rather than wonkily being available for every 3rd. Maybe reduce the mana cost or make it instant cast too. It need something to be competitive with the other 2 strong passives.
    I really think the right option for the Lenience row is Lenience + Purge the Wicked + Light's Wrath. You could tune it so you want Light's Wrath when it's very important to have that big burst, Purge the Wicked when there are lots of good opportunities to spread it via Penance, and Lenience when the fight is mostly single target or you have particular need for the damage reduction. Would love to see the devs experiment with that.

    I really agree with Mend that adding smite into the mastery would be very nice for the spec, very good suggestion.

    I miss Plea. I personally feel like the spec is better when we have the PW:S/Plea dichotomy. A powerful atonement applicator every 6 seconds helps with the flow of the spec quite a bit.

    I would love to hear if others have had a similar experience with the merger of Plea and PW:S. Does the spec rotation feel like it has less flow in BFA or did having 2 spells there in Legion feel unnecessary?
    04/28/2018 12:36 PMPosted by Telepron
    I miss Plea. I personally feel like the spec is better when we have the PW:S/Plea dichotomy. A powerful atonement applicator every 6 seconds helps with the flow of the spec quite a bit.

    I would love to hear if others have had a similar experience with the merger of Plea and PW:S. Does the spec rotation feel like it has less flow in BFA or did having 2 spells there in Legion feel unnecessary?


    I like that the basic atonement applicator is an absorb because you frequently apply atonement to full health targets, so now it won't go to waste as often. Even if the target is missing health, you now have an absorb to reduce some incoming damage while atonement heals them back up (rather than healing some of the damage as you apply atonement, and then need that atonement less than you did before if they don't take much damage during the duration). I think that's a better synergy than Legion Plea.

    In the Alpha thread some people did mention wanting a CD larger single target shield back. One option could be to leave PW:S as a short CD larger shield + atonement and then bring back but change plea so that it's a smaller shield + atonement (like current beta PW:S). They could then use a different shield graphic for plea (like the old divine aegis graphic since I miss that). Then we'd have the best of both worlds.
    04/28/2018 11:19 AMPosted by Ryfe
    I don't understand why Holy Nova was added.


    Might just be there for a get people out of stealth utility.
    Yeah I really like that idea Zenetta. That does sound like the best of both worlds.

    I also want to add the feedback that if Blizzard did move Purge the Wicked and Lenience onto the same row as I suggested, they could turn the Contrition row into a utility row that doesn't compete with actual throughput talents but instead just adds a small thing to your kit. Maybe Clarity could come back on this row or something? Idk. It would be a shame if you just never pick Contrition because throughput talents are always better, but I also don't want to see Lenience axed.
    04/28/2018 02:05 PMPosted by Vizslamonk
    04/28/2018 11:19 AMPosted by Ryfe
    I don't understand why Holy Nova was added.


    Might just be there for a get people out of stealth utility.


    It was probably added because it was the most highly requested thing throughout Legion and in alpha before we got it. I think people wanted the AoE power holy had in Legion though, which now holy doesn't even have.

    Since they seem to be toning AoE damage down in general (meaning better AoE damage might just not be on the table), I think it needs to be tuned to at least be a decent stack heal or given some other utility on top of being a minimal DPS/Heal combo.

    That would also leave another option to add shadow covenant back if we removed divine star as a redundant stack healing option. Though I still think PtW is boring and should just be how SW:P works baseline (they can change it to not jump to unaggroed targets or CCed targets if that is happening).
    The talent row balancing comments are something we'll probably look at in a little more detail slightly later, though there is a simple buff in the pipeline for Luminous Barrier.

    On the base rotation: while we don't want it to be as burst-oriented as it was in Legion due to Light's Wrath, we are looking to add a little more texture back as far as moments of higher damage/healing. In the next build, we're trying out Power of the Dark Side as a baseline part of the spec.

    On Power Word: Shield (based on various comments in a lot of different places): Power Word: Shield will definitely be used a lot more than it was in Legion (obviously, due to not having a cooldown). But, we neither expect nor want it to be like the PW:S spam of Mists or Warlords. In those days, a rotation based almost entirely on PW:S did sufficient healing to make a Disc using that rotation into a top healer. Therefore it was doing roughly an entire healer's worth of healing in the form of absorbs.

    Disc in BFA should not be able to put out that level of absorption, even if it uses a higher portion of casts on PW:S. Using PW:S, and absorbs generally, is still a core part of Disc's identity, but reaching full healing potential still requires a significant contribution of other mechanics like Atonement. We don't see it as a problem if PW:S is a major workhorse spell of the rotation in all contexts, but the opportunities to apply very high amounts of shielding are cooldown-limited (Rapture and Luminous Barrier), and current talents that buff PW:S generally do so without adding absorption (Lenience and Orison).
    I guess the concern of PW:S spam comes from the fact the mastery changed from an atonement focused mastery, to a mastery that buffs absorbs and only 1 atonement based healing spell. This combined with talents like orison, lenience and luminous barrier give the impression that atonement is being pushed to the side in favor of non-atonement healing.
    04/28/2018 10:05 PMPosted by Sups
    I guess the concern of PW:S spam comes from the fact the mastery changed from an atonement focused mastery, to a mastery that buffs absorbs and only 1 atonement based healing spell. This combined with talents like orison, lenience and luminous barrier give the impression that atonement is being pushed to the side in favor of non-atonement healing.


    This so much. Please keep atonement the focus and source of disc healing!
    Seems like disc is going to just be applying atonement with shields. Shields are too weak to spam but are a nice upgrade to plea. At least you know if they take damage in the next 15 seconds the heal part wont be wasted.

    Cast penance on CD. Holding it for a few seconds if the burst window is a few seconds away but before it would be up again will be the skill cap.

    Spot heal with Shadow Mend. Knowing what health they need to be at to get them out of the one shot zone will be the skill cap.

    Rapture will just be shield spam. That can be a spread or a spam on the tank because they overpulled and the shield is getting eaten on GCD.

    IDK. Sounds kind of fun to me. Out side the shadow mend part that's some crazy good mobility. You can also throw in some Divine star casts on the big trash pulls for some nice direct healing, atonement healing, and damage.

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