In Blizzard’s own words:
We want to allow for builds that are centered around Penance, but also open opportunities for other spells in the Discipline toolkit to shine if invested into, such as Smite and Power Word: Shield.
If they want us to build around Smite, it needs to do some damage to be worth it. For those who don’t know, Smite has an aura nerf for Disc priest. Meaning a hidden % modifier to the damage/healing of the spell. For Smite in total, it’s a -31% aura. Meaning Smite for Disc specifically does 31% less damage. That means, for a Smite build (or really just any talent build that tries to buff Smite as much as possible) to be good, we’d need to have some real good modifiers, right?
Well no. Currently the modifiers we can get:
- Words of the Pious - 10% for 12s after casting PW:S (this will almost always be on for us, to be fair)
- Wrath Unleashed - 40% damage for 15s after casting Light’s wrath.
- Twilight Equilibrium - 15% if cast after a shadow spell - but using this buff on Smite is a waste.
- Unwavering Will - A 10% cast time reduction above 75% health - this just isn’t nearly worth 2 points for Smite specifically.
- This even conceptually isn’t a good talent, let alone a good capstone, because Light’s Wrath will always lead your burst. This means you’ve got 3-4 spells to get through (Penance, Mind Blast, Mindgames) before even a 50% increased Smite would be up in the priority.
And that’s it. Meaning your best Smite would be after casting PW:S, Light’s Wrath and Mind Blast for a total +65% damage on one smite - and +50% on any followup smites before the Light’s Wrath bonus falls off.
That sounds cool, but it’s also working off a Smite that does -31% damage, which is applied before all these multipliers. Meaning we only get ~13% better Smites than a Holy priest does with 0 buffs to their Smite with ALL of our talents up.
Now by contrast, let’s look at the bonus Smite damage Holy can get:
- 10% from Words of the Pious, just like Disc if they want it (granted they may not cast PW:S at al).
- Searing light - +50% damage when Holy Fire is up - keeping in Mind that Holy now has Empyreal Blaze, which allows VERY high uptime on holy fire.
- Divine Word - +50% damage when used on chastise. Also allows for Smite to re-cast holy fire.
That’s a total of +110% Smite damage, and they’ll have at least 50% of it most of the time should they so choose.
And this is on a Smite that has no aura nerfs.
So comparing the two, Holy Priest’s Smite hits for:
- ~100% more than disc when both are fully buffed.
- 37% harder with only the searing light buff versus Disc’s fully buffed Smite (using LW CD AND equilibrium).
And if Disc DOESN’T have the light’s wrath buff, and only has words of the pious, and Holy ONLY has searing light, Holy’s just consistently doing 75% more damage than Disc is while spamming Smite.
That’s just an incredibly huge gap for the spec that Blizzard themselves have said they want to be able to build towards Smite. Simply put, it’s never going to happen if I can put everything towards it and still have it do 75% less than another spec who STILL uses it as filler.
Why would I ever try and build towards Smite as a Disc priest when it’s just significantly weaker than it is for Holy priest, and it’s already the absolute bottom of the Holy Priest’s damage priority as-is?
And on top of that - there’s never any reason to take the terrible wrath unleashed capstone because it’s not synergistic to your kit, and Smite does completely awful damage anyway.