Disc: I must not be getting it

I’ve never been a full-time healer but 99% of the time I healed coming into Shadowlands, it was as a Disc priest. I’m sitting about 220 ilvl right now because I really don’t feel confident running the content I need to get the gear I need to level up more. I feel like I’m gimping my groups.

I am fortunate, on the raid team I DPS for, to have a player who really should be raiding with much more talented teams, but he’d rather play with friends (meaning the rest of us). He has a healer of every spec, and if he doesn’t parse pink/orange/tan on all of them, it’s a rare night for him.

He’s given up on Disc, too, because in his words, “you do five times the work for one-half the output.”

He encouraged me to try out Resto shaman to compare. I healed briefly as a Resto sham in Legion and hated it. I was terrible at it and it felt clunky. But I did as he said, tried Resto sham, and … I can get twice the output for about one-fifth the effort. He wasn’t kidding.

Problem is, I’d rather play Disc. Something about the spec really speaks to me. But I’m obviously doing things wrong (and I may be geared wrong, because I can’t find a way to sim healing specs so I just have to kind of go with trial and error, or ask other priests). I am very fortunate to break 3500 hps on any encounter (roughly impossible unless it’s AoE and I can uncork Unholy Nova), or unless I just say “screw it” to mana or the encounter and blow all cooldowns and trinkets, etc… I really feel like I struggle to heal people in the 0%-20% health range (i.e., rapid recovery healing) and I have problems working with most of the fast-pulling tanks out there.

I’m not sure what help I’m even asking for at this point, but it’s clear that this iteration of Disc priest has eluded me.

The purpose of Disc is not to be hard. Disc has two purposes, to mitigate damage and burst healing.

In order to do that you have to predict the damage, so you have to know mob abilities and timers beforehand.

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Meh. If you want hps just spam shadow mend. Then sit down and drink. Also, be an engineer so you have the speed boost to run and catch up heal on the next pack.

Seriously though. Disc is stat and group dependent. If you want to carry a group, play shammy and stop complaining.

In raids, the spec is specifically designed to heal through 13-20 second ramps so that you finish the ramp rotation right before or as raid damage hits. You do this about every 90 seconds. If you don’t heal like this, you are not playing the spec as Blizzard intended which is why your healing is so low.

Your stat priority, Covenant, and legendary is wrong for all forms of content. As is the talent build you’re using. You should look into some online guides for Disc Priest (Ivy-Veins, WoWHead, etc.).

Discipline requires research into boss fights/timers and pre-planned CD usage. You are not going to heal very much if you don’t know what mechanics you’re healing beforehand. It’s not like other healer specs.

It is stupid how much work needs to be done compared to other healers to get similar throughput, but it is what it is. Hopefully Blizzard will change the spec for 10.0.

I care far less about my meters than the pugs I join do. What is frustrating is when you can complete content with no deaths and one of the other pugs complains about HPS being low. When that happens multiple times, it goes from being just standard annoying pug stuff to making me wonder if I really slowed us down.

I do pick up on the fact that certain comps are far easier to heal than others. I’m not trying to “carry” a group but rather be a good participant in one. If that comes across as “complaining,” so be it.

Thanks. I just happened to have that particular legendary on for some reason; I do have the ring that buffs Rapture, as well as the new covenant legendary for Necro (which I chose over Kyrian in large part due to trying to limit the complexity of things, as I have read that the Kyrian covenant power setup makes things even more multi-step than they already are).

Regarding talents, I had a Spirit Shell build before the nerf. Now I don’t know exactly what to do with that row. I think the only other non-optimal talent I have is Divine Star, which is an artifact of how I played the spec in previous xpacs (as well as doing a lot more M+ healing than raid healing, and using DS as a way to heal melee-heavy comps).

The ramp system is one big thing I struggle to understand. I preferred the days when we were focused on shields/absorbs and now it is much more complex. I’ve heard this is due to some of the design team playing Disc and wanting a spec where they could show off their skill set but that may just be rumor.

As for the comment above yours that I just should just play Shaman, I’d really rather not. There are things I really like about Disc – the atonement mechanism, the speed of it, etc. – that I don’t get from Shaman. There just feels like a dozen extra steps in the middle of Disc that don’t carry any payoff for having to use them.

My ultimate goal would be to be able to heal +15s without issue, and be able to heal heroic raids. That’s really the top end of it for me, so pushing +25s or mythic raiding, I don’t have much of an interest in.

We hear this a lot, but why is it a crime to be complex. The very complexity you dont like, many do which is why there was such a push back against SS and against disc reverting to absorb style healing. Priest has 2 spec. 1 has very little complexity and the other the highest complexity of the healers in my view. That makes us lucky

I appreciate the complexity of the spec but this is very much how I feel as well, despite me pushing keys as disc. I won’t even flex to Disc or Holy in raid anymore because I can’t stand raid healing with either of these specs in Shadowlands. I just get on my monk and turn my brain off.

Ramping correctly can be fun and super rewarding but I’m kind of just at the point where I am tired of the “if you mess up one thing in your cooldown or you used it at the wrong time you are providing about 40% of your expected values.” Every healer has this problem but it’s extreme for disc. This goes for dps cooldowns as well. I was already getting tired of the “cooldown meta” and covenants exacerbated the problem with it. Disc is heavily reliant on their covenant abilities.

Its too mana / gcd intensive to maintain large numbers of atonements in the same way a resto druid might maintain hots.

Instead disc plays around having the most atonements active when the biggest damage happens, so you can dps the boss with a big burst to heal up all the atoned players. This requires knowing when mechanics are to ramp into them beforehand.

Disc is capable of the most burst healing of any healer by absolutely miles because of how much it can lean into this playstyle, though to do the really big numbers it requires direct damage covenant abilities provided by Kyrian and to a lesser extent Venthyr.

As for complexity / mana management. Most of that comes from trying to be useful outside of your main ramps, adding things such as external mana and mini ramps and managing radiance charges which makes the gameplay overall more complicated.

HOWEVER, if all you do is your big ramps and outside of that just maintain a few atonements and dps the boss you’ll be doing 70-80% of your potential output in raids. Just doing the big ramps right puts you significantly above average, before you even look at the more complicated stuff.

For Disc to be viable in 9.1 you need to be either Venthyr or Kyrian. Necro is just currently non-viable. Disc is very strong in both M+ and raid and highly desirable in either. In Sanctum Disc edges out Resto shaman slightly do to the increased movement patterns this tier (they are both very close). In keys I highly recommend a dps cooldown tracker and use PI on the appropriate target as close to cooldown as possible.

Biggest takeaway from this is you have to be Venthyr or Kyrian for disc to work.

Yeah, I’ve gotten that complaint. But I don’t get it much anymore. Why? My experience has taught me a few things (plus my raider io shows I have healed a ton of keys–which in itself deters people from making mindless comments).

  1. Know when you have to pump hps. You are not going to know without experience. And when you start to see when you have to step up the HPS then be ready to do a few things. One, PI yourself if you have to. Second, learn to use rapture, pain suppression and barrier. Third, learn when to just plain old spot heal (with shadow mend). Fourth learn to pump heals with your covenants abilities such as Boon if you are Kyrian.
  2. People who criticize don’t always know all of the angles. I have more than a few times been criticized for low hps when the affix is necrotic. Not this last week, but other times. Well, duh. Stacks of necrotic negate healing you do, and kill your hps.
  3. Learn to pump dps. If you pump dps you get the mobs down faster, and hence have to do less healing.
  4. Learn to put people on ignore. The last time anyone criticized me for HPS I told the person he was an idiot, told him to f off, and promptly put him on ignore. This was after the run though.
  5. Record your runs. If your computer is up to it, record your runs and review the deaths. Review the parts that were hard. A lot of times, when I did that, I could see why the group had failed. It was usually reassuring because I saw that kicks were missed, fire was stood in, etc. But I also saw what I could have done better. It allowed me, for example, to do research on the mobs where the trouble was. It helped me to set up my frames better, for example, so that I could see debuffs, etc better.
  6. Don’t kick yourself. You get better with practice just like in real life.
  7. If your hps is a problem in raids, look at your overhealing. I have gotten my best hps numbers/parses raiding when the other healers were unskilled and/or when we did not have too many healers.
  8. There are other things you can do. Like, for example, you can simply watch guys like Moadmoad and Jak when they stream or post videos on Twitch. You can learn little tricks from them, but can also see how they do fights, for example.
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the goal of m+ is to not heal. The goal of raids is to kill the boss. At this point, people are clocking 50% overheal in heroic, so there’s no healing to be done there either. In mythic, on a six min fight, healing matters for a cumulative one minute maybe.

I’m not sure you understand. You can NOT heal in raids as a discipline priest if you are not Kyrian (optimal) or Venthyr (suboptimal). Yes the rotations are complicated and a pain in the butt but that’s just how the spec is. You can’t just go Necro and expect to heal a raid as disc very well. Venthyr is much easier than Kyrian to ramp with, but it isn’t as much healing in return.

You can still use Spirit Shell. I use it personally for every fight except Mythic Remnant and Soulrender. You do need to be the correct covenants for it or you won’t ever cap it out and get the full effect. That being said, Spirit Shell doesn’t do as much raw healing as Evangelism and requires about 7 seconds more prep time per use than Evangelism does. But sometimes you run with a good team and don’t really need as much healing as Evangelism gives so the absorbs are better.

AutomaticJak has a great video on YouTube on exactly how to Kyrian ramp for 9.1. There are a few good guides on it in general.

Ramping just takes practice. And once you learn it, it is like riding a bicycle, you never forget it. If you want to get the most out of it you need timers. You have to know when bosses do big raid-wide damage, for example, and time your ramp so that it hits as the ability comes in. But, in my experience with Evangelism, you want to wait a bit with your double radiance cast until health bars are a little down, or else the autotarget nature of radiance won’t be the best.

Also, once you learn the patterns, disc gets to be very dull. It is ridiculously repetitive at that stage.

Oh, and if you don’t do a lot of smite casts and limit your spot healing, you are going to need innvervates, ideally. Otherwise you could go oom.