A lot has changed in the four months since I wrote my original holy talent analysis over at Divine Aegis. So much so that I felt it was about time that I posted an updated version of this guide, complete with information on the spec that I am currently running with and the reasons why I chose those talents. I won’t be covering the talents that I did not take, but feel free to leave a comment about that if you would like to know why certain talents did not make the cut.
Let’s start off with what I have in the holy tree.
Improved Renew (2/2)
When you are tank healing, you should have a Renew on the tank at all times and refreshing it by being in Chakra: Serenity and casting your direct heals. While raid healing, Renew is still going to see some use, though not in the blanketing style that we were accustomed to.
For instance, if I find a DPS is taking an unusual amount of damage, I usually begin with a Renew, with the intention of letting it tick all the way down. If they continue to take more damage and Renew does not appear to be helping, I will throw a shield on them. Anything after that means they most likely have aggro or are standing in something they should not be and I may not have the resources to pour more heals into them. So, Renew is my “warning shot” of sorts.
If a large number of people are taking damage, there are other spells to choose from to react to that. However, for more concise, reactive healing, Renew is going to be your best choice and having 10% more healing from it is certainly welcome.
Empowered Healing (3/3)
In the Beta, there was criticism that our direct heals were not healing as much as those from other healing classes. Soon after, there was a hotfix where the base healing of those spells was increased to a more acceptable amount. While I’m certainly grateful for the buff, I’m also grateful for the chance to increase my healing with these spells by an additional 15%.
This talent will mostly affect your ability to tank heal and may not have much impact if you are raid healing. Anyone doing any kind of tank healing, whether it be in groups or in raids will want to take this talent.
Divine Fury (3/3)
The only spells that you should notice being helped by this talent are Heal and possibly Greater Heal. Without any points in Divine Fury, my Heal spell would take 2.72 seconds to cast. That’s agonizing. Having two points here shaves it down to a 2.22 second cast time. While this is still a long cast time and not nearly what I’m used to, you have to admit that the cast time without any talent points here is much more dreadful. Again, if you’re doing any sort of tank healing or possibly even Smite healing, make sure you have points here.
Desperate Prayer (1/1)
This talent has since increased in popularity since patch 4.0.6 came out, when it was changed to now heal you for 30% of your total health, instead of a set amount of health. It works really well with other talents, such as Blessed Resilience and Test of Faith. Throw in the fact that Desperate Prayer has no mana cost and you have more than enough reasons to take this talent.
Surge of Light (2/2)
One of the most controversial talents in the holy tree, this is the talent that most priests can agree that they want to like, but there simply aren’t reasons to feel that way about it. The recent inclusion of Binding Heal was seen as a way to generate more interest in Surge of Light, but that doesn’t appear to be happening.
Most of the arguments revolve around the fact that there is a chance when the free Flash Heal is available that someone may not need it and the spell gets wasted or that the proc rate is simply too low to justify wasting two talent points on it. In a raid healing situation, I would agree that a holy priest may not have much use for this talent. However, if you end up having to go discipline or are holy, but trying out a Smite healing build you would see greater returns from this talent.
The damage reduction effect from this talent is most needed for tank healing. There was some discussion posed as to whether or not the damage reduction from Inspiration would work in tandem with other damage reducing effects, such as those like Demoralizing Shout. The answer to that is yes and the reason why can be found in the wording. Inspiration reduces your target’s physical damage taken by 15%, whereas Demoralizing Shout reduces the melee attack power of nearby enemies by 20%. One provides an effect that is placed on the tank and the other is an effect that is placed on the opposing mob.
This talent is something that even discipline priests make sure they have the talent points to take and holy priests should, too. It’s also the only ability that warrants a holy priest having any kind of critical strike rating.
Divine Touch (2/2)
By itself, Renew does not begin to heal someone the moment you cast it on them. There is always a delay. When someone is in need of immediate healing, that delay can be painful. With mana also being a more limited resource, you also want to squeeze as much throughput as we can out of our spells. Having points in Divine Touch means that Renew begins to heal immediately upon being cast on someone and we are getting the most healing out of it. You will certainly notice a difference when you do and do not have points in this talent.
Holy Concentration (2/2)
Talents like Holy Concentration certainly are a big help in making sure that we have the mana pool to keep going and is one of the main reasons why spirit is such a strong stat for holy priests. The benefit from this talent was first buffed in a hotfix to give up to an additional 40% of mana regeneration from spirit and then was reduced back down to 30% a few months later. Meditation already allows 50% of your mana regen from Spirit to continue while in combat, so having both points in Holy Concentration puts you at 80% mana regen from spirit while in combat. That’s mighty nice!
One of the joys of being a priest in this expansion has been seeing the public opinion on Lightwell gradually change from one of revulsion and comic relief to one of necessity and praise. While still not nearly as refined as it could be, it has certainly earned a place in any holy priest’s talent tree. Not only is it up to others to choose to click on the Lightwell, but it is becoming important for us to know just when and where to drop it. It can be just as useful when dropped spontaneously as it can be when dropped at the ideal spot at the beginning of a pull. Lightwell also can be used as a cooldown, when your group is facing adds they weren’t expecting or some other situation comes up that will be really demanding on healing.
Spirit of Redemption (1/1)
Looking back on so many of my first kills in Cataclysm, many of them were really quite messy. In fact, there are a number of boss encounters where it seems perfectly normal to defeat them with just a few people standing. If you happen to not be fortunate enough to be one of those people, Spirit of Redemption will at least allow you to make an impact for a short time after you die and perhaps help you turn the tide in a more positive direction.
Improved Death (an affectionate nickname for this talent) is affected by line of sight, so make sure you don’t die behind something that would obstruct your view and prevent you from being able to cast anything. You can also enter Chakra states while in spirit form and drop a Lightwell (although recent tests have shown the Lightwell no longer lasts after this effect wears off).
Having points in this talent will be particularly useful for big, emergency heals or what I call “heal bombs” or “Serendipity bombs.”
Any time a situation calls for tank healing and said tank is taking more damage than a standard Chakra: Serenity/Heal spam is going to take care of you are going to want to pull out some bigger heals. Once you realize this is the case, cast a Flash Heal or Binding Heal (depending on whether you are taking or have taken enough damage to need the heal) twice to get two stacks of Serendipity. Follow it up with a Greater Heal and get your tank back up to where they need to be. Some fights will require you to do this more than once. In that case, you would cast the two Binding Heals or Flash Heals (or a mix of both) on the tank, then cast a Greater Heal. Your Serendipity stacks will then be consumed.
If the damage is still coming in strong, cast another two of the previous heals and follow it up with another Greater Heal. This is something that is obviously going to be expensive, mana wise, so I do want to stress that this is again meant to be used for only big, emergency heals. Don’t follow this rotation just to keep your tank up on a regular basis.
If you are raid healing, you would probably follow the same formula for that, too. Cast Flash Heal or Binding Heal on someone, get two stacks of Serendipity and consume the stacks to cast a cheaper and faster Prayer of Healing. Obviously, you would only want to do this if an entire group or groups are taking a lot of damage. It’s nice to have the choice to use Serendipity as the situation calls for it. If you find yourself in an emergency, having points in this talent will certainly help you and your group get out of it.
Body & Soul (2/2)
This is one of those talents that people still feel is more taken for fun or situational utility and isn’t a serious talent to take. I’m definitely not one of those people. I love this talent and I wonder how I ever got by without it. It has a number of wonderful uses, which you can read about here and here.
I would love for there to be a way to make the poison cleansing effect work on other people, like with a glyph or a simple re-vamp of the talent. That probably won’t happen, but it’s nice to dream and I still feel there are enough reasons for taking this talent as is, without those changes taking place.
By now, it’s pretty common knowledge how I feel about Chakra. Please refer to my Guide to the Chakra Sutra for a more detailed breakdown on how to use Chakra, including recent changes that are being included in patch 4.1.
This talent goes hand in hand with Chakra. You really can’t have one without the other. Revelations takes Holy Word: Chastise and changes it, based on the Chakra state that you’re in. If you’re in Chakra: Serenity, it becomes a Holy Shock of sorts and gives you an instant cast direct heal that procs your mastery and increases the chance your heals will crit on that target for a brief period of time. If you’re in Chakra: Sanctuary, it becomes a zone heal that heals those standing in it and also procs your mastery.
Each version of Holy Word stands to make the Chakra state associated with it that much better. You can also only access these spells by being in a Chakra state and having a point in this talent. For example, you can’t cast Holy Word: Sanctuary on its own. You would need to be in Chakra: Sanctuary, in order to have your Holy Word: Chastise change over into Holy Word: Sanctuary. Hence the synergy between the two talents. For more information on how to use the new versions of Holy Word: Chastise, please check out my Guide to the Chakra Sutra.
Blessed Resilience (2/2)
With my recent foray into hard modes and how much damage goes out during those fights, this talent seemed to grow in importance for me. I also need somewhere to put the 2 talent points that I wasn’t placing into Tome of Light anymore and this seemed to be the next best option. So far, I’m really glad that I chose it.
Currently, Blessed Resilience is bugged, where it will proc anytime a heal over time effect crits on you. This means that you could see a higher than usual uptime on this buff and the healing bonus you would receive from it. Some priests tend to favor Inner Sanctum instead of this, but I prefer Blessed Resilience because it procs from any kind of damage (not just spell damage) and you will find that most things you encounter will easily be able to deal 10% of your health in damage to you. Use Desperate Prayer while under the effects of this for maximum survivability.
Test of Faith (3/3)
One important thing to note about this talent is that the target needs to currently be at 50% or below when you heal them, in order to increase the healing they receive from Test of Faith. For example, if I cast a Renew on someone who is sitting at 62% health and then they fall to below 50% health, the Renew would still heal them as if they had 62% health. The Renew would only heal more if I placed it on them after they were already at/below 50% health.
Otherwise, a flat healing bonus to allies at 50% health (which is common in raids and especially hard modes) is extremely desirable and I consider this talent to be a must have.
Circle of Healing (1/1)
Circle of Healing started off as a bit of a disappointment in this expansion and eventually endured to become one of the top healing spells in a holy priest’s arsenal. With the recent nerf to Prayer of Healing, Circle of Healing is now the better choice out of the two, in terms of healing per cast time and healing per mana. The fact that it is also a smart heal and will place healing priority on those who have less health means you should almost certainly use this spell immediately off cooldown when raid healing. It is also not limited to healing just those in the same party as the target. This spell is great on the run and can even heal an extra target, when glyphed for it. Take it – you will certainly not be sorry that you did.
Guardian Spirit (1/1)
Two things have changed about Guardian Spirit since the release of this expansion. For starters, we need to be more careful of when we use it, thanks to the reduced effectiveness of the glyph. The glyph used to state that if your Guardian Spirit lasted its entire duration without being triggered, the cooldown would be reset to 1 minute. Now, the glyph simply reduces the cooldown by a flat 30 seconds.
Secondly, the absorb/heal from Guardian Spirit was changed so that it cannot heal for more than 200% of the maximum health of the priest who cast it. Some other fun facts that may influence your decision to take or not take Guardian Spirit are:
- Guardian Spirit is not affected by the global cooldown.
- Guardian Spirit can be dispelled off of your target.
- The healing effect from Guardian Spirit can crit.
- Guardian Spirit will not prevent death from falling.
- Guardian Spirit will prevent death from occurring, but will not reset a target’s threat.
Similar effects, such as Ardent Defender, do not stack with Guardian Spirit. For example, if a paladin casts Ardent Defender on themselves, they would need to wait for the effect to expire or fall of naturally before Guardian Spirit would take effect on them. You could still cast Guardian Spirit on the paladin, but it would be more beneficial to wait until Ardent Defender is gone or has been used to do that.
Next, the talents that I have in the discipline tree.
Mental Agility (3/3)
A good portion of the spells in our arsenal do not have any cast times. Power Word: Shield, Prayer of Mending, Renew, Circle of Healing, Holy Word: Serenity, Holy Nova, Psychic Scream (if you aren’t using it now, you will be), Fade, etc. Having to be more conservative with our mana warrants putting some points here to cut down on costs. Use your best judgment with where you feel you are at with your mana and what you feel you could stand to improve on.
Twin Disciplines (3/3)
A 9% increase to all of my holy based healing spells (which is just about all of them) is a huge boon to me and having it be so close to the top of the discipline tree means you won’t have to spend any unnecessary points to reach it. Definitely put points here!
Lastly, the talent from the shadow tree that I have points in.
The current priority for stats, regarding holy priests is to go for intellect, then spirit. Get your haste to at least 12.50% (fully raid buffed), to ensure you are getting your two extra ticks from Renew and then start stacking mastery. Having points in Darkness can help you, if you feel you are not quite at the suggested haste cap yet or if you just prefer stacking haste over mastery. The haste granted by Darkness does NOT appear on your character sheet, so you will need to add the 3% haste or however much haste you get from the points you put into it yourself. If you feel you have enough haste or will without it, feel free to place the points elsewhere. Otherwise, take points in Darkness and be on the safe side.
As always, my talent choices are never set in stone and I always encourage people to do what works for them. If you are seeing results and you can explain why something is working for you and understand why that is the case, I’m all for it. What I’m doing is posting what works for me, what I enjoy having and what I am questioning or thinking about changing. I encourage people to try new things or find new ways to make old concepts work. Feel free to discuss some things that I am doing which you agree with and feel free to correct me if you feel I am wrong about something or you feel I could be getting some use out of a talent that I may not be using right now.
Thanks for stopping by and keep your eyes peeled for future posts in the L2Holy series!