Power Word: Survey
A big thanks to everyone who responded to the no-seriously-this-is-not-a-meme healing survey! I hope that those of you who are linked on the page will benefit from the extra traffic, and be encouraged to post more useful information! It probably goes without saying, but the survey became vastly larger than I expected, and despite my best efforts, I just can't keep up with finding everyone who has responded and linked to the post, unless you left a comment for me - too many WoW.com hits have flooded by statcounter log. Not that I'm complaining... it was like having a big weekend party at my house. I will try to continue posting links to blogs that responded as long as you leave a comment, however.

I'm still trying to work my way through all the responses... I've been trying to copy and paste them all into a word document, but after crashing word a few times, I gave up for awhile. I do fully intend to finish reading through them though, and I am pleased that all the new material will hopefully help everyone who reads them become a better healer.

So far, one of the best things I've seen to come out of it is a post over at MoarHPS. Noting how few people really understood how the stats that come from meters work, Moar posted a really informative guide explaining how all those measurements work, and what they are good for. I think the point is that while meters are not the end-all, be-all for healers, they can definitely be used to help you figure out where your strengths are, and where you need to tweak - as long as you understand what they mean. I'm exceedingly grateful to Moar for the post, because I wasn't willing to admit how poor my understanding of those stats was >.>

On a slightly less happy note, there was a pretty nasty comment over at WoW.com referring to my own answers to the survey that I wanted to respond to here. Had I known the survey would become so big, and so many people would be looking at my own answers with such a critical eye, I might have explained my answers better. So, from the perspective of this holy priest, I'm going to respond to the criticisms leveled at my answers - because it's my site and I'll do what I want to, even though I know that some people just want to rip others apart, even though they may have no better answers themselves. So there. Suck it.

Lack of Burst Healing for Holy Priests

One of the questions on the survey I wrote was "what is the biggest weakness of your class?" Some of you might have found this very difficult to answer! I know that I did, because the thing about Holy Priests is that we can do a little bit of everything, and quite well. We can fit into any healing role. But, as with every jack of all trades, there are none for which we are truly the master. One thing that I have desperately craved since the days of Kel'Thuzad is a solid single target instant burst heal. The critic in question insisted we have plenty of burst heal options, and for each spell they mentioned as an example, I will respond accordingly:
  • Power Word: Shield - This is NOT instant burst heal, and to say that it is is so ridiculously silly that it barely warrants response. This will reduce the next incoming damage of course, but I'm talking about green-bar-go-up type mechanics when I say burst healing. Is it something that can be used in an emergency scenario to keep the target from dying from the NEXT hit? Of course it is - but that was not what i was talking about.
  • Prayer of Mending - First of all, as Matticus discussed in a post that all Disc Priests should definitely read, Prayer of Mending doesn't go off if the damage is absorbed from a shield instead. Prayer of Mending needs to be cast BEFORE the damage hits in order to heal. The target CAN die from the damage before benefitting from the PoM heal, if I understand the mechanics of this spell correctly (if this is not the case, please correct me). Therefore, this is NOT instant burst healing that makes the green bar go up immediately - it is a response to the next bout of damage. I am talking about the desire for something to respond to a massive damage input that has already happened.
  • Surge of Light - Sorry, I don't always have a surge of light proc sitting in my pocket. It's great when it procs, but because it is a proc, and because it is based on crit, which in and of itself is based on chance, you cannot rely on a surge of light to be there when you need it.
  • Circle of Healing - This is a viable answer - and this, in addition to Empowered Renew, is what I currently use when an individual needs an immediate burst of healing. With any luck, I can CoH, Renew, and have a SoL proc - but all of those are subject to global cooldown, and do NOT aggregate into a single target instant burst heal. And yes, this works quite well, but I suppose it really grates on me to use an AoE spell to respond to single target damage.
That was the biggest criticism the commenter made that I felt warranted a response, but in answer to the other comments he/she made, yes, I realize Divine Hymn is a very powerful spell, and that I should use it more. Obviously, that's why I listed not using it as my worst healing habit (eyeroll). I love having druids and their innervates and b-rezes and HoTs around not because I expect a druid to give me an innervate or B-rez - but because when it is needed by someone in the party, I appreciate knowing that those options are there, since aside from Hymn of Hope, I don't have a way to return mana to my fellow raiders - and IMO, Hymn of Hope is somewhat weak unless coordinated very well with others. The final criticism was in regards to my insistence that Holy Priests CAN do main tank healing, despite it not being optimal. I've already discussed that topic ad nauseam, however, so I feel no need to delve further into the topic.

I will be the first to admit that I am far too sensitive to criticism, but despite that, this comment reminded me of the same thing that always annoys me about so many players - that the vast amount of wow players are not in the upper echelon of raiding. Why do I rarely use Divine Hymn? Because I'm serious when I say that I'm rarely in a situation in which that powerful of a healing spell is needed - usually a CoH or a Serendipity-hasted Prayer of Healing will more than suffice. Were I currently working on TotGC 25 man hard mode, I'm sure my answer would be different. But I'm not. I am probably one of those average WoW players, really. I do 10 man raids regularly, I do 25 mans on occasion, and I do a lot of 5 mans. I like to think that were I interested in participating in hard core raids that I would perform fairly well, but the truth is, I just don't want to make the commitment that requires.

There are a lot of new subscribers to my blog, so it probably bears repeating here that while my focus is on Holy Priests, and to a lesser extent Disc Priests, I do discuss a lot of the issues relevant to assembling a strong healing team for raiding, as well as some officeering topics. However, I am not solely interested in raiding - if you prefer 5 man content, I always try to consider that aspect as well when discussing Priest mechanics. I see too many people give advice to priests that completely ignores the differences between a 5 man scenario, and a 10 man or 25 man scenario. Healing a 5 man all by yourself is actually quite different than healing in a raid. I do try to always keep that in mind when I dish out Medicinal Wisdom :)

NB: For those of you wondering, part of the reason why I'm not using pictures so much in my posts these days is due to the covert way in which I am forced to blog at my current job. Pictures of WoW related things seem to be a bit of a red flag on google reader when my boss walks by. I would apologize for the walls of text, but I feel apologies should carry an intention of stopping the crime with them, and since I have no intention of stopping... well, you see the dilemma.
18 Responses
  1. Lath Says:

    I wouldn't worry too much about a random WoW.com comment :)

    What I love the most about this survey is the complete variety of answers that each of the applicants has given. I think it just proves that for all the theory crafting in the world, everyone has their own unique style and as long as it works for you, who cares :)

    I also kinda wish I had responded with a bit more thought, I really answered it in a silly mood and I think my post is fairly light hearted and pretty goofy so I hope there aren't newbie druids reading it taking notes :P

  2. Mongrr Says:

    Nice Post, and nice blog. I'm relatively new to the WoW blogging community and I'm glad to have found this one. :)

    I completely agree that Holy is lacking in burst healing for single targets.

    They *CAN* do it... but it's so dependent on SoL procs, which even if you stack crit, is still ultimately up to the RNG.

    You're correct in your assessment of PoM, and that it should not be considered a burst healing spell on its own.

    If the target has PoM on them and has 10,000 hp and gets hit for 10,001... they're going to die regardless of the PoM, since the PoM triggers *after* the damage.

    Now, if they have PoM on them while having 15,000 hp and get hit for 10,000, the PoM will trigger and can certainly *help* in the burst healing needed to get them back up to full... making the CoH/emp.Renew/SoL even more effective.

  3. @lath

    Haha I knooow, i let random comments get to me too much, and burst my "zomg wow.com linked to me!" bubble.

    I found that fascinating too - you always hear people make allusions to healing style, but the survey really highlighted some of the details of the differences in healing style, which was fascinating.

    IMO, silly responses are usually the best. Can't take ourselves too seriously!


    The RNG factor is my primary reason for not trusting the new emphasis on crit. It doesn't matter how much crit you stack - if you can't get to 100%, then you can't actually RELY on it.

    Thanks for the confirmation on PoM. I thought that's how it worked too, but I just wanted to be sure.

    Also, lots of luck with blogging! If you ever want some advice or a shoulder to cry on when you have no muse within 40 yards of you, feel free to shoot me an email XD

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Aw, glad you enjoyed the new post! :D I usually have 5-6 different things I want to post about that I never get the chance for, but that was one that I felt really had to be posted after reading some of the surveys. It was a GREAT idea and I'm so glad you did it! Now I have a million more places I need to link to. My link list is going to be huge!

    BTW, don't let the silly posters get to you. It's pretty well known that Holy priests don't have the burst of paladins/Disc priests/shaman. They're just giving you a hard time.

  5. Anonymous Says:

    So far, the webring questionnaire is very nice like jess said was a big hit and its true!, now we also had it posted in our general forums in our guild credits from you jess, they love it!

    I did read about that wow.com comment whoever he/she is dont mind it. pfft he/she is just jealous! ahaha, and yea on my post to answer the questionnaire when i did mine like Lath was saying i responded it in a silly mood. >.< but oh well! i dont care. but at least i answered what i have to, my own words my own experiences. Thanks again jess.

    also love the new template of your blog ehehe.

    and 1 thing i notice did you forget about the wowhead tooltip script code?

  6. Chirri Says:

    Kudos for creating such an interesting and useful questionaire. :)

    I actually first heard about it while reading I Like Bubbles, and found the link back to your blog.

    One of my biggest peeves about the Priest as a healing class is that we're so much that "Jack of all trades", and have that class name that evokes the idea of "Has to be the best healer!" in those unfamiliar with the game, that there are tons and tons of Priests out there healing without much of a clue about how we work. I'm guessing a number of them were conned into rolling Priests by veteran friends who wanted a heal buddy, and were pointed at some cookie cutter talent set ups, and never actually bothered to look at their own spell descriptions or talent descriptions.

    Your answers to your own questionnaire at least reassure me, a fellow Priest, that you're more familiar with your class than many of the Priests I've come across. I know you don't need my opinion to validate your own ideas, but I wanted to say it anyway. :) I tend to keep quiet on a great many things I agree with, but at the very least I ought to support someone of a like mind when it comes to our healing.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Ye Gods, congratulations ... I think. Also I had to give up reading the website formerly known as wowinsider because the incredibly wanky nature of the comments were putting me off WoW itself. So I hope some random tosser hasn't put you off too much. I'm so glad the non-meme was such a bit hit - I thought it was awesome :)

  8. Erinys Says:

    I've found the results fascinating and am so glad you took the time to create the survey in the first place. Personally I would ignore most of the stuff said on wow.com, its full of people who see themselves as elitist jerks but wouldn't last two seconds in the scary world of EJ.

    "Something like desperate prayer, but for someone other than ourselves."

    A relatively simple fix would be to make desperate prayer as it currently is base line and change the talent to allow you to cast it on anyone. Move it a bit further down the tree so disc can't pick it up and possibly add a slight cooldown reduction into divine providence. An increase in the amount it heals for wouldn't go amiss either but that's possibly just being greedy.

    Although I have a somewhat bad habit of using guardian spirit on people who need burst healing. Nothing beats wings to show your rogues you <3 them and careless abuse of cooldowns tends to spice up raids.

  9. @Moar

    Ack, at first, I was adding everyone who responded or who was tagged to my google reader, and now things are just out of hand. How ironic is it that I haven't even had time to PLAY THE DAMN GAME WE'RE ALL WRITING ABOUT because I've been so busy trying to read everything written about it?!!? I think I'm going to need to update my blogroll YET AGAIN due to so many awesome new blogs I've found!


    Thanks for linking to your guild, I'm glad they enjoy it XD And yes you are correct, the wow tooltips are not working since I changed templates - that is something I hope to correct today if possible... but since I'm using another template from another site (I found this one on teh interwebs and mass props to whoever designed it) trying to add anything into the HTML has been wonky, so I'm crossing my fingers.


    Never underestimate my sense of self worth. Validation from other good priests is ALWAYS welcome. Anytime you feel like dropping me a line to tell me I'm awesome, I will accept!

    I think that with priests, there's just SO MUCH to learn about the class, and so many different ways to play it as a healer, that people get caught up in one style and think every other healing way is just wrong. Too many people roll a priest because they think it means they will just be an epic healer, without understanding that what makes priests epic is the variety of ways you can play them.


    I think from now on I'm just not going to read the comments on wowinsider - the columns themselves are still pretty good. Also, as a tribute to your British terminology which I absolutely relish, I made a tag specifically for people who piss me off - hope you caught it ;) My next "stop pissing me off" tag will include "tosser" and any other fantastic insults I learn about from Righteous Orbs! See, Tam, you are helping me be more culturally knowledgeable!


    That's actually kinda what I was thinking too, just make Desperate Prayer targettable... or perhaps have an "improved" DP further down the tree? DP already has a relatively decent cooldown, and even if it were increased a bit, it would still be nice for burst healing.

    Using Guardian Spirit for burst healing is quite possibly the awesomest thing I have ever heard of, by the way. It makes me think of the time I was in VoA, and on the easy dude whose name I can no longer remember, I just spammed Prayer of Healing the whole time... just to see if I could last. Nothing like wasting mana and cooldowns for kicks. Although, since i have the GS glyph, I might just start using that for some awesome burst healing anyway... that's not actually a bad idea! But don't tell Ghostcrawler, or he'll nerf our glyph XD

  10. Grimmtooth Says:

    I may have missed it in the comments, but regarding PW:S and burst healing, it could be whoever it was is referring to a *glyphed* PW:S, which DOES do a little bit of instant healing when cast. This is probably a required glyph for Disc priests in most circles. On my disc priest at around 2200 SP, I see just over 2K insta-heal as a result. I have no idea how good that is comparatively, but it does have some merit. Obviously it isn't a full health bar, and I doubt very much it's even sufficient for the KT debuff.

    If you're looking at the class as a whole and not just one spec, then Disc also offers Penance, which is my tool of choice on the KT fight to get people through that debuff. Again, I'm looking at around 15K health restored (crit) in ~2 secs time in 5K bursts that are only delayed by distance. Again, I have no idea how good that is for a naxx-with-badge-gear Disc priest, but there you have it.

    Sorry I didn't get a chance to finish the survey, much happening right now. I'll prolly post my answers at some point anyway, for giggles.

  11. Grimmtooth Says:

    I seem to have a sudden fondness of the word "again". What's up with that?

  12. Malchome Says:

    To those that think a Holy Priest can not main heal a tank.... Roll a Holy Priest and try. If you have not STFU and L2P. All of the healing classes can perform any healing role, just others are more optimal than others. I remember hearing about a lot of Priests getting Emo because they did not have a niche.

    Seriously? If you have to rely on a niche to get a spot in whatever guild/group you are playing with, maybe you should consider looking for another less [removed] group.

    I have not raided with every class but I have leveled to 80 every class and done some group content with each. All of the classes can perform their roles adequately given what they want to spec into. Will they all be top of the meters, no. However ever if everyone is doing average damage and the boss dies what is the bloody big deal who had the highest DPS or "effective" heals.

  13. Bell Says:

    I know one or two wow.com authors who won't even read their own comments because it's just so bad over there.

    You're doing fine, don't worry about them!

    Also, your blog is wonderful, and I'm glad this survey helped me find it! I even filled it out here:


    Thanks for it!

  14. @Grimm

    I thought about that PW:S bonus too, as that tiny burst does help a little, but i was thinking something more in the 5k range. Penance, of course, is perfect - but Holy doesnt have anything quite like Penance, or we would be way too OP.


    I agree completely. Of course Priests can MT heal - all healing classes can, because otherwise, 5 man content would be moot. Holy Priests aren't necessarily the best at any one thing, but a good holy priest who uses their tools well can perform any healing assignment nearly as well as any other class.


    Thank you! That actually does make me feel better - I've noticed how ridiculous some of the comments are - it's nearly as bad as the forums sometimes.

    And I will add your post to my list! I'm glad you're enjoying this site!

  15. Betelgeuse Says:

    Well I found the comment you are referring to at wow.com. I think some of the other agree, they were just an elitist JERK.

    One thing I think you found from all the replies from your survey is that everyone heals different. So, you are a little different, so is everyone else. ;-)

    I do agree with you on the burst. I'm sorry but 5k isn't a burst, it is a pitter. Like Erinys said Guardian Spirit is the closest we have and it is very situational!

    But, I would like to talk about Divine Hymn. I can sort of hear where you are going and I agree you don't need it that much in 5 mans. May be on Loken in HoL. In 10 man it can be helpful on fights like XT, Hodir, Mimron. Any fights where the raid takes a lot of damage. We mostly run 25 mans and I use it all the time. I use it with Inner Focus to save me the HUGE mana cost and more crits!!! We use to do Divine Hymn rotations on XT and Hodir in the beginning to help keep the raid up. Helped a ton! I still use it ToC on Acidmaul and Dreadscale if to many people get hit with burning bile. I use to use it during Anub but that is a big no no once I realize the healing goes to Anub. I think of it as our oh shit button now! ;-)

  16. Hinenuitepo Says:

    Honestly Jess, this was well done, well done indeed!

    It was fun, garnered massive interest, and generated discussion.

    What more could you ask for? :)

  17. Katrina Says:

    I'm having fun reading the responses, ESPECIALLY Shaman ones! I just don't know enough about Shammies, so it's nice to see them talk.

    Yeah, a fun thing to do with Divine Hymn is definitely to consider it an "Oh crap!" button with an Inner Focus macro. If both parties are in absolutely critical condition in a 10-man, or 4 parties are in a 25-man, I'll pop that sucker without thinking about it if I know I can probably get its full cast off. It's also how I have always healed Phase 3 of The Black Knight! Shield + DH. At this point, though, the group I run with can down him before my DH ends. But it was critical to our success when we first ran it.

    I also use Glyphed Guardian Spirit as an "Oh crap!" for the tanks. It doesn't get used every CD (I hate to risk it being down when a tank is about to eat it), but it still sees a fair bit of use. I know other healers like to use it like a healing trink, and definitely understand that with the 1 minute CD if it doesn't get munched...but I personally can't bring myself to do that!

  18. Anonymous Says:


    My responses to the questionnaire :)

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