The Healing Spec that No Longer Exists

Just posting some thoughts I’ve been having lately. Not sure what kind of useful discussion could come of this, it always seems like these days people rush to enforce the status quo, to defend the indefensible, to brandish people as “noobs” and to insult and discredit anyone with an idea counter to Blizzard’s current zeitgeist.

But its clear that Discipline Priest might as well not exist anymore. With keys becoming more popular activity for semi-casual players without the time for raiding, its easy to see from raider IO’s leaderboards that only 3 to 4% of all healers are playing Disc in 10 to 15 keys, and by the time you get to lvl 20 keys for the portal achievements, the representation drops to near non-existent levels.

This used to be one of the most popular healing specs, and when most of the community was begging for Disc to be nerfed in Pandaria, I think any sane Priest was on board with this idea as well. And yet Blizzard never acted on this, never nerfed when nerfs were necessary, and that irresponsible lack of action created a huge anti-Disc sentiment, which I believe led to the Devs over-correcting in Legion, with a re-work nobody wanted.

And its clear nobody wanted it, by how few people are playing Disc now.

This isn’t a question of the spec being broken or unplayable, as there is certainly no question someone is rushing to post something of that sort even before they get this far into my post. You can have a spec that is entirely functional, but that is also essentially useless due to its redundant nature or anti-fun mechanics that drive players away. And that is what Disc is now.

The spec that is supposed to be “do damage while healing” is checking all the boxes to fulfill that definition, while also being one of the healers that will do less damage than several other “vanilla” healing specs, unless they are Kyrian, in which case most people play Holy anyway since most of the damage comes entirely from the Kyrian Covenant ability, and not anything specific to Discipline spec itself. Again, this is represented in the m+ stats on raider IO.

Now Holy Priest, Resto Shaman (of course - the devs favored spec), Resto Druid, are all doing better damage. For Free!!! essentially, as there is no tax applied to them for the damage they do, as there is for Disc. Holy’s Smite hits almost 3 times as hard as Disc’s does. Why? Cause of Historical factors leading to negative perception from the community, toward the “doing damage while healing” spec. And so now almost every other healing spec can do more damage than Disc, for FREE!!!

If you can still manage to find a good Paladin or Mistweaver, whose popularity is also on the decline, they can do more damage (Paladin) or keep pace (Mistweaver) with the Disc spec. Again, for free, and with comparable or better utility.

PW: shield has been nerfed into virtually complete irrelevance, if it weren’t for Rapture or a lack of good ways to spread Atonement, why use that spell? Its not efficient on mana, and having a Mastery that increases absorbs and healing, when both are extremely lackluster, is salt on the wound. +20% bonus to garbage doesn’t even get you to average. Remember Divine Aegis as the Mastery? I bet hardly anyone does. Cataclysm was the best Disc ever has been, and probably ever will be again.

They just don’t make them like they used to. And its sad, and the game is worse off for it. Shadowlands, with its extended talent trees, is shaping up to be more like how the game used to be. Disc deserves another look. The way it is now, its always going to be a “fine on paper” spec that Extremely Smart People will say it works, doesn’t need any adjustment, and its Really Good®™ (trust us) spec, if you just “get good” at the game.

Fact is though, I’m good enough to know trash when I see it. And I won’t be touching that spec again. There’s a reason why everyone acknowledges just how integral trash men are to the proper functioning of society, and yet virtually no one is rushing out to become one. The spec gets the job done. If you hate yourself.

At this point I’m just like, sure guys. Lets continue to watch your MAU’s (cause calling them subs is just not sophisticated enough, just like not enjoying Disc isn’t sophisticated) drop cause you lost the plot. In before someone calls me a troll for having logical thoughts.


ok i will dance with you

Its not a discussion you really want, but a rant. If it was a discussion you sought, there are several other posts on this forum of players crying at the woes of disc.

its interesting how you basically colouring anyone that doesnt agree with you in an unfavourable light. Its all very emotive and freudian. You are basically pre empting on the people who will now come and disagree. interesting… im sure ive seen that in american politics recently.

is it? where are you drawing this conclusion from? From what i was aware there was 3 camps, and this is opinion not being passed off as fact, but one camp of hardcore keyers and one camp of people who key to get gear to raid more efficiently and the last lot that enjoy running with mates.

um no. people arent playing disc right now because, priests are blessed with 2 healing specs and holy being dominant right now, disc players are playing holy. Its not that they dont want to play disc. Untill this tier disc has been dominant over holy.

Swings and roundabouts

Disc has its uses in seaosn 1 with SS. They have been sought by mythic guilds for years. One tier does not make a spec redundant.

Yeah see your messy here. But i do agree that some specs, like shammie do dps with no real effort and disc being the original damage to heal spec should not be so low on the damage totem pole. But once again end of xpac. Next xpac looks to have a lot of damage options.

Nerfed is accurate and not. Ive gone into this before and if you played disc in legion and start of bfa then you already know why pws has become the way it is. If you dont really know then im happy to inform you

hmm passive aggressive nature again. once again anyone that likes the spec is an “issue”

Are you? i can only see a 23rd lvl DK. Cant judge the factualnes of that comment.

Then dont. Its a game not a job or a life.

see again…

Yeah emotive drivel. About one point i agree with but the rest comes from a place of waa disc sucks and anyone that does like it hates themselves and is some elitist snob


There have always been metas, off-meta, and meta shifts during expansions. Disc just isn’t the meta right now, and while it could use some more tweaking (basically, a return to Legion mechanics) I think that saying it may as well not exist is certainly a reach.

Cata-era disc was certainly fun between Divine Aegis and Evangelism stacks → Archangel play, however honestly there never felt like there was a reason for me to actively heal or do anything other than Holy Fire->Smite spam. I’d like to see DA return as a passive ability, but I prefer the current mastery of Atonement granting a buff to healing remain if the mastery scaling gets buffed.

Or, if we’re honest, I’d prefer to see Smite’s absorb shield returned and Mind Blast having some other interaction, such as increased damage vs targets w/ SWP/PtW or a Schism-like damage debuff.

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This isn’t even correct to the current standings. Holy Priest is the only spec out-damaging Disc in a dungeon for the most part, considering PI. Resto Shaman is doing pretty similar damage to disc due to a covenant ability and legendary combo that they’re losing in Dragonflight. And every healer spec right now is abusing Resonant Reservoir to do the majority of their overall DPS. And in raid, there’s no question that Disc is doing top damage in any realistic scenario.

Disc isn’t anti-fun, there’s a huge amount of Disc priests that will tell you that. It’s just weak in dungeon/PvP content right now, especially in comparison to Holy Priest - so there’s no reason to play it over swapping specs.

But Holy priests dealt with this for almost 3 entire expansions of playing second fiddle to Disc being the meta. The only people playing Holy around that time were the hyper dedicated holy mains and people who just wanted something easy - the latter being something disc doesn’t share when it is off-meta. But if we were looking at 25+ keys in BfA (about 20 now), Holy had near-zero representation.

There’s room for high skillcap specs in any given game. Especially when you’re talking about a spec that used to share a significant portion of its playstyle with another spec. Rather than have two specs with minor differences.

As it currently stands in DF, the only healer that’s actually doing insane numbers in dungeons is Evoker. Disc is actually slightly higher tuned than the others barring evoker rn.


All I can say is this, and I reserve the right to keep this to my opinion:

  1. Disc is still the most fun healer. However:
  2. People dont want disc now for whatever reason, the “community” having its perceptions what they are. I dont know exactly why but think it is for a few reasons. One is because disc damage is kind of low vs holy. Second their mana inefficiency in your typical pug can become a problem with low skill pugger dps who play with no desire to improve. Third, your typical disc priest healer is probably not very good at the spec. It takes a lot of practice to master (vs holy anyhow) and so people see this in runs and wrongfully extrapolate from a few low skilled disc priests to the lot. Fourth, people don’t realize that when you run with a disc priest things like kicks, cc, and simply not standing in fire are pretty much required–at least if the key is high enough.
  3. Having healed a lot of dungeons as disc in the first two seasons all I can say is if you are still playing disc you are a hero in my eyes. That said, I am having a grand old time playing holy instead. Getting easy invites, doing uber damage, rarely having mana issues, playing an easy healer and not feeling ready to bite people’s heads off if they dare cross my love for disc are all welcome developments from my standpoint.

You wont once you play DF. lvl 68 in greens and the mind blast absorb is 18k, with a reduced cd on mb you are getting some nice constant absorbs. not little ones smite used to give

You know why. Holy is better THIS tier. People are having a melt down over one tier and as caps has said holy has had to deal with this for years


Thank you im touched. :slight_smile:

Lol! I knew you would be! That said, it is true that anyone still playing disc–and not having made the switch–deserves a pat on the back. Even Moadmoad made the switch–which really disappointed me–even though I like both specs as the best of all healers (subject to change though). If everyone made the switch there would be nobody there to speak up for disc, nobody to come to its defense, nobody to relay to Blizzard that disc is still good–but needs adjustment. As much as I love both specs I do like disc better. It’s just too bad that the “community” gets so fixated on having “meta” specs as their one and only choice and that Blizzard fails at addressing this very well.

Speaking of meta, i never wanted to be. It was looking like it at the start of bfa and you had this influx of disc people who jumped on the band wagon and then got upset as disc got nerfed as it was always going to be.

Im just happy to be able to do my job. I would like faster balancing patches so we dont have an issue where shammie the meta all xpac long as druid was for the last 2. That sort of thing needs to be addressed. But no i dont want to be meta, maybe its the aussie in me wanting to be a bit of an under dog

Well, good on you mate! In my case I like to be able to do my job and not fall asleep in a key because there is no challenge. What I mean is this: In the first couple seasons I got pretty much max geared asap and then found 15-18s put me to sleep. Hence wanted to scale the ladder. But for 19s and 20s I could not buy an invite except to low skilled, inexperienced, or undergeared groups and even then, getting an invite was like pulling teeth.

Now, playing holy, this season and last, the invites come quickly. Sadly they are at the expense of people playing non-meta–and I kind of feel bad about that, but having been there and done that I have taken Yumy’s advice to heart: Play what’s good!

Yeah, I hear you on that. I have almost always mained Alliance, and got 99% of my pvp rank doing so–with nearly every one of my honor points earned hard and in mostly garbage grind groups.

Same but i play the AH and the gold reduction on crafting mats saves me 10’s of millions of gold so i had to change to the ugly goblin. Handy that it is also very good for disc with haste and jump.

Yeah thats an issue i agree. Caps said he doesnt have that issue but i know i have too

I just never have had someone even ask or look.

I think the one time someone even noticed something off meta was a time someone commented on me playing Necrolord on hpriest when I was coming out of a plaguefall that nobody had it for :stuck_out_tongue:

Every other time I play disc or a weird covenant nobody says a word.

Do you think its a horde or alliance thing? I will admit i tried as alliance and havent tried as horde since i had a friend tank for me. There is, i understand some bias against alliance skill levels.

My goblin toons are super cute. This one a case in point.

Caps probably has friends he plays with. I have a long friend list but most on it are half my io score currently, and for most seasons. Occasionally I get hit up for healing, but it is always in voice, pretty fun, but we dont time the keys, the quality of play low.

In the first couple seasons I was fine until those higher levels.

Yeah, people dont know half the time. I have been called a great holy priest when playing disc and vice versa. I rarely correct people because they genuinely prefer to stay in the dark–usually anyway.

Bias against skill levels seems to not matter if you play a lot. Get a high io or good io and heal a lot of keys and you will be healing as alliance in 80% horde groups most of the time. That is my experience currently anyhow, and the same was the case in Season 3.

Its more what ive seen some you tube comentators say before cross faction. I know Metro has commented horde were a little more toxic in keys. As a long term alliance its stuff i wasnt aware of

Oh, yeah, bruh. Alliance was horrible before cross faction. I know because I played both this expansion, sometimes simultaneously. Generally speaking the play was like night and day. Alliance pathed poorly, did not skip the right packs, missed a lot of kicks, etc. and just in general was pretty bad.

In my experience, I have always found the lower the key and the less skilled the player the more likely the player was to be toxic. The higher the key the more likely everyone is to be nice, and even just walk away from a key thanking everyone for their effort and that kind of thing. There are always exceptions though, lol. If anyone ever whispered me telling me I was a bad healer, I would always look them up–for two reasons: First to see if they had valid criticism and second to get a fix on the toxic person’s personality. Typically the toxic person’s track record would show inconsistent play, lower keys, poor log parses, etc which often gave me the feeling I may not have played perfectly, but that the toxicity was probably a result of frustration on the toxic person’s part, their poor play, and wanting to excel without much of an effort or time commitment on their part. A lot of people are quick to blame others and their habit of doing so means they legit never learn from their own mistakes and just want an easy out to put their egos to rest.

Horde are typically better players, so I disagree with that assertion.

Seems my post has disappeared. All I was saying was that in higher keys people are nice–and horde seems to really dominate here. Toxic players, in my experience, usually fail to learn from their own mistakes, are quick to blame others, and you find them more in lower keys and lower skilled groups.

Disc is meta in RBGs right now!

This was Holy’s exact position ever since I started playing in Cataclysm, up until the revamp in BFA. No amount of whining in the forums ever fixed it. The solution always was “Go Disc”. Now the solution is “Go Holy”. Not ideal, but that is the only thing you can do.

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Small, spammable, (and stackable) absorbs. With enough haste, particularly during lust, and high enough gear level for the content being run, the small spammable Smite absorbs could drastically mitigate single-target damage coming off the boss for a period while not ravaging the healer’s mana reserves.

Anything currently in DF is to be taken with a heavy grain of salt, seeing as there’s still the remainder of alpha testing/balancing and beta to go through, as well as endgame scaling to consider.

There’s also the lack of context to consider. 18k shields… ok, impressive number but ultimately meaningless. How much health do you have? How much do enemies have? How long is it taking to fell the average mob? How hard are mobs hitting?

I mean, I’ll take your word for it because in current gameplay I can appreciate the use of MB to temporarily negate a mob, buy breathing room to let atonement heal someone, and/or to take some of the oomph out of a hard-hitting ability. I just remember how much friendlier the Smite absorbs felt to me during low-mana situations.

Good points. Real discs are in pvp. With tanks just spam aoe taunting all mobs and dos standing in all the green goo on the ground the disc spec just doesn’t seem to be able to heal the way people do dungeons. There’s no skill to it. Round me up aoe em down and hope heals can keep us up. Holy spec is so OP right now. But disc is really good in rated bgs right now