As mentioned in my updated loot listing for patch 4.3, Heart of Unliving is widely believed to be one of the best in slot trinkets for healing priests. However, it wasn’t always that way. Let’s take a look at how far Heart of Unliving has come, since it was first made available on the PTR, and just what exactly you can and should do with it.
“What is Heart of Unliving?”
Heart of Unliving is an epic quality trinket, which comes from the Spine of Deathwing encounter, in Dragon Soul. When it first came out, Heart of Unliving had no Intellect on it and only provided a stacking Spirit buff. Shortly after patch 4.3 went live, it was changed to now look like this (from Normal difficulty):
“How does Heart of Unliving work?”
Heart of Unliving comes with a flat amount of Intellect, but healing spells that you cast can give you a buff called Expansive Mind, which gives you 88 Spirit for the next 10 seconds and this effect can stack up to 10 times. So, if you are good about watching and maintaining your stacks of this buff, you could enjoy a near constant 880 Spirit. That’s pretty mind-blowing.
“What spells/effects will proc Heart of Unliving?”
Unlike similar trinkets that you may have had in the past, like Majestic Dragon Figurine or Solace of the Fallen, the stacks from Heart of Unliving are a bit more difficult to keep up. You may have noticed that when I answered the previous question that I said “healing spells that you cast can give you a buff called Expansive Mind,” meaning that not every healing spell in your toolbox is guaranteed to give you a stack. It’s important to not only know what spells or abilities will give you stacks, but which ones will also help you keep those stacks up, so they don’t fall off and so you don’t lose the Spirit buff. Also, please note that you do not gain a stack of Expansive Mind until you finish casting a spell. So, there is a possibility that you can lose your stacks in mid-cast.
The following spells/effects will give you one stack of Expansive Mind, unless otherwise stated:
Binding Heal – Gives 2 stacks, one for each person healed.
Circle of Healing – 1 stack, per person healed.
Divine Hymn – 1 stack per heal, per person healed. Using this spell with Heart of Unliving is guaranteed to give you a full 10 stacks of Expansive Mind. Any heal from Divine Hymn that would give you more than 10 stacks will instead refresh the stacks that you already have.
Holy Word: Serenity
Penance – 1 per tick of the channeled spell.
Power Word: Shield
Prayer of Healing – 1 stack, per person healed.
Prayer of Mending – 1 upon casting, no stacks are given when the spell bounces.
Renew – 1 for the cast, the HoT portion does not give any stacks.
These spells or abilities will not give you stacks of Expansive Mind:
Dispel Magic – Does not give a stack, even if you glyph for it and it heals the target.
Guardian Spirit – The cast itself and the heal given by the spell both do not give stacks of Expansive Mind.
Holy Fire – Atonement healing from this spell did not give any stacks.
Holy Word: Sanctuary
Hymn of Hope
Lightwell – Neither the cast itself or using charges from the Lightwell will give stacks.
Power Word: Barrier
Power Word: Fortitude
Smite – Atonement heals from this spell did not give stacks of Expansive Mind.
“Should you be using Heart of Unliving?”
Yes! However, I didn’t start really needing it, for regen purposes, until I started working on the Warmaster Blackhorn encounter with my group. My mana was fine, when I was healing everything up to that point. As we started working on Blackhorn, Spine, and Madness, I was really having to watch my mana usage and I had to make every cooldown count.
One thing that will benefit you in the long run is to make sure that the resto shaman in your raid get this trinket before you do. Heart of Unliving is one of the few trinkets that works in tandem with a shaman’s Mana Tide Totem – something that every caster in your raid will benefit from, including yourself. It may be tempting to take the trinket for yourself first, but you will gain more by giving it to a shaman, instead. Think of what will benefit the raid as a whole, before you think of what benefits only yourself.
If you find that you’re not having any luck with Heart of Unliving dropping in your raid, try running LFR and getting it that way. While you will get slightly less Intellect and Spirit than you would from the Normal version of the trinket, it’s still a mighty nice item to have on you. I would take it any way that you can get it.