Can we please revert or partially revert the Smite aura damage nerfs for Disc?

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.


So correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t smite like 4th priority for holy priest?

SW:D (if low) > Holy Fire > HW:Chastise > smite?

Mind blast and shadow word pain are both no go spells as far as I can tell for holy.

SW:D > Divine Star (this above SW:D if AoE) > Chastise > Holy Fire > SW:P (if the target will live) > Smite.

Chastise might move below holy fire in DF considering Holy Fire’s damage got some pretty substantial buffs and Empyreal Blaze exists now. Mind Blast doesn’t exist for them in DF anymore.

Smite most likely moves up to above Holy Fire during Divine Word windows because it can cast holy fire on its own.

Mostly what I’m saying is that, as a spell, even mega buffed by everything else, it’s gonna be really low prio for holy. Meanwhile, Disc is expected to be able to play more around Smite if they want to, but it’s got a -31% modifier that applies before any talents, and makes all its buffs (which are less than Hpriest’s) less effective as well.

The only reason for it to be this way is really high atonement counts in raid and the effective healing very strong smites would provide. But if that’s the case, we may as well not pretend that ‘smite build’ is a thing Disc can do, and make better talents altogether. Especially for a capstone.


I guess I wasn’t thinking about divine star, which is fair. For some reason I was reading the divine word effect as it could add 7 seconds of holy fire dot with smite, not that you would get the instant damage as well. I’m not in beta so can’t test it though.

I don’t understand how SW:P is worth casting though. It’s just shy of 90 spell power total, and there’s a two point talent that kicks it up 5% if you’re going for mind games. Smite is 70 spell power, and your window for +50% damage is 7 out of 10 seconds, unless it is higher because of Divine Word or Empyreal Blaze. Plus it has synergy with HW:C, where SW:P has almost no synergy with holy except the new From Darkness Comes Light.

I get your frustration with Disc though. This has always been one of the balance points that all games that have a damager healer have always had to wrestle with. If two healers can sufficiently heal and do the same damage per spell, but one of them gets 80% damage uptime where the other gets 20% damage uptime, then the non-damage class gets jettisoned. If you make it so they have to cast more non-damage spells, then you ruin the class identity. And I also agree that casting smite on disc feels terrible.

The problem is absolutely atonement. Atonement should be moved to the capstone tier for raid healing. All of discs damage maluses could be rolled into the atonement talent.

100% agree. The nerff after nerff to smite as well to our Penance spreading our dots has put Disc in a bad spot comp to other class’s. Atonement in raids looks really good but outside its ehh. Just looking at resto shammy with acid rain or dru with instant dots for all. Smite needs to be worth our time swopping to dps.

That is a higher sp coefficient than Smite, and you only have to cast it once every 12s. You can cast SW:P in those 3 second windows - and it’s absolutely worth it.

This paradigm only exists in raid - and I have a strong feeling top raiders are going to be using Hpriest for Damage come DF. They have some incredibly strong burst windows. While they have to sacrifice some raid healing for it, their damage potential is really high right now. Disc’s leg up in raid is just barrier and strong burst healing - any fights that don’t require that, the Hpriest has potential to be doing more damage.

Edit: The above, granted, is just if they use priest healers at all, mind. Other healers are looking pretty good right now. But if your priest you’re taking for fort is on the healer position, then Hpriest seems like the higher damage version.

Disc does have to spend more globals on healing in dungeon and arenas, and Holy just has higher damage potential there now that Disc has lost Mind Sear.

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I guess I’m confused. SW:P has a total of ~90 SP (+5% talent), smite has ~70 SP with a 50% increase if it has holy fire ticking. Wouldn’t that mean you’re comparing 90 SP vs 105 SP if it has holy fire, plus smite has synergies with other abilities and talents?

I’ve always heard that Disc has the inside track on healing in raids. Bosses are designed around the disc timings, while holy would have to be class stacked to have a spot generally, but other healers bring new utility and can cover the throughput.

These numbers are inaccurate. On beta right now at 5667 intellect, Smite hits for 5949 damage, wheras Shadow word: Pain deals 12,522 in total. A 50% increased Smite would deal ~9k.

Ahh, okay. I was just going by what I could see on wowhead.

Edit: I think I found it. They have a spec effect that gives most damage spells +44% damage, but SW:P has a special +112% modifier that only it gets.

I forgot about the aura…it actually seems incredibly lazy to leave it in place and then force disc priests to spend talent points just to get some of that damage back.

Atonement was at its best during Cataclysm, when it worked off Smite and nothing else. It was a smart heal, and allowed you to provide support dps during times of low damage, without having to worry or constantly interrupt your dps for very minor issues.

It was the start (though entirely shortlived) of Disc developing a better identity than shield bot it had been in Wrath, but unfortunately they leaned too heavily on Atonement in Pandaria, and it basically turned the entire playerbase against Disc, which in consequence turned the entire dev team against Disc. And things have only continued to get worse from there.

I feel Atonement always should have remained a small perk of the spec, something that when incoming damage is only 5% to 10% of normal, you can just Smite through it worry free. Because healing such minor damages is not particularly interesting. But you also cause your teammates to worry if you just let those minor damages pile up, waiting to use a bigger heal about it. And if they look you, you Smiting, people will yell at healers over this, even though they weren’t in danger, most people don’t like to sit at 70% or 80% hp.

So the fact it did minor free healing, that was nice. Sure do miss those days. The spec has been an abomination for more than 5 years now, and every expansion it seems they nerf its damage ever more. My time healing m+ as Disc during Shadowlands was not fun. Had to work hard, never felt like I got ahead, no matter how much gear I had, always felt like it was a struggle to keep up vs playing as Holy, especially in the mana department.

I 100% agree Atonement should be a capstone talent, and that without it, Disc should get more damage and healing, so that you can talent into that playstyle if you want. Blizz will never do this, because they now see Disc’s entire identity revolving around this ability. So we will not ever see how the spec might evolve without it.


I personally enjoy disc a lot more in the recent versions with how atonement works right now. Never really liked smart healing, and having to option to play a healer that is less “whack-a-moly” is a lot of fun.

Having a class that have 2 very different healing specs is a lot of fun too, priest is the only class in the game that I enjoy all 3 specs, and disc is by far my favorite spec of all time in it’s current iteration.

Sure, it’s not the greatest number wise, but I can complete the level of content that I do just fine, so I don’t care that it’s B or F tier or wtv…

Back to the topic, I’d sure would have liked that they remove our aura nerfs and start the tuning without it in the first place. I understand that disc might still need one coming into DF, but it’s surely better to start out fresh and nerf after if needed.

I wholeheartedly agree. I think it’s idiotic to have multiple iteration of the same spell when there’s also interactive n from the base class tree. I feel like this is archaic and smite shouldn’t feel worthless for disc and right now it honestly does. It feels like I’m spamming a lvl 50 spell or something, the thing barely hits for 1k


Disc is hard to balance against Holy: here’s the reasons.

M+ setting:

  • Holy stacks Versatility, Haste, Crit, etc. All stats good for DPS.
  • There’s more targets to hit with tab SWP, Divine Star, etc. I.E. more passive DPS uptime.
  • You typically have a much higher time spent dealing DPS unless dungeon is really healing intensive.

Raid setting:

  • Holy stacks Mastery over Versatility. Mastery = does nothing for damage. There can be a 20-30% dps difference between raid and M+ gear.
  • There’s usually only one boss on most fights and not a lot of AOE damage potential.
  • Spend a lot less time dealing damage compared to M+. You have 20 people to heal including yourself.

So in a raid setting Disc will always beat Holy, but in M+ Holy will always exceed Disc if played correctly.

  • So does Discipline.
  • Yup, same for every healer - but Disc currently has a tool to help bridge that gap with mind sear, but is losing it.
  • Sure, again go back to point 2.
  • Ironically, so does Disc.
  • Holy got Empyreal Blaze, though. Which with very little maintenance and SW:P can outperform Disc on its own.
  • Yes and no - Disc also has to spend its ramp time doing pretty much 0 damage. The addition of PW:S on a CD means we’re losing damage globals to that for healing, too. We also have very little way to do smaller ramps anymore.

But again, I’d point to Empyreal Blaze for raid. The fact that with 3 points of investment, Hpriest can keep up a pretty consistent ~6k-7k damage on beta when only keeping SW:P up and Holy Fire off CD is pretty nuts when Disc can use every global on damage and be closer to 5.5. And the gap only gets bigger in execute phase.

Something has to give at that point. Even if we reverted all the aura nerfs, it would put them close to even footing with how powerful empyreal blaze is.

Personally I play both specs, so I’m not screwed if Disc sucks. But I’d rather tuning start when Disc doesn’t have hefty nerfs still in place.


Empyreal Blaze should probably be made to be a passive ability because right now its on a short 30s cd. It’ll constantly be breaking into your heal rotations because you have to press Holy Fire 6 times extra a minute.

The talent does make Holy actually able to deal much better passive damage in a raid setting. My biggest concern is we’ll run into how CN was in 9.0 where utility (damage mitigation) and damage was the name of the game over throughput. All the throughput healers got left in the garbage bin.

You all have good and valid points. I love disc but not a fan of Atonement baby sitting + having to swap to Dmg vs the passive holy heals in Raid. Something needs to give in M+ and PvP. I can’t stand how blizzard only looks at raid when more do M+ and PvP.

PS. for the love of god I hope they fixed disc mana issues.

I mean… for dungeon you’re basically throwing shield mostly on the tank on cd and throwing a renew otherwise (which is more akin to HoT gameplay than really anything)

Raid is more about ramps and otherwise more similar to dungeons mentioned above…

I mean, for me babysitting is more like FC buff maintenance than playing disc :man_shrugging:

That’s a new issue, PW:S is used a lot in PvP with body and soul. Now Its junk. Concerned big time for PvP

Raid ramp up Is sooo boring, I want to feel useful out side cheez it manics. Happy [Spirit Shell] is gone. guess thats a +