Spec Debates
While I flail confusedly amongst the waters of various options for my poor bored healer, the only regular things I have been healing have been 5 mans (groan). I haven't been playing much during the week, because I've been suffering from the mild affects of seasonal change (i love leaves changing color, but my ears, nose, and throat apparently do not - and who would have thought that quitting smoking would make all these pains even WORSE?). So, my healing has been reduced to only five mans and the occasional weekend pug.

I've spoken before about the debate regarding whether or not Greater Heal is a useful spell, and therefore the talents associated with it. As proof of my belief that Greater Heal is not entirely worthless, I thought I would take a minute and discuss my current spec.

Greater Heal is mainly useful as a tank healing spell. Therefore, in a raid where holy priests are usually assigned to a raid healing role, it makes sense that Greater Heal gets little use, and therefore renders the talents associated with it as wasteful if there are better options. After all, if you intend and expect to usually heal the main tank in raids, you really ought to respec Disc, who get more benefit from Penance than Greater Heal anyway.

But in a five man, you will of course be doing a lot of healing on the main tank - so for Holy, Greater Heal is still useful. That might do a little to explain to any nay-sayers who wonder why I have so many Greater Heal talents!

Even in a full raid spec, it's really hard for me to let go of Divine Fury, so in a 5 man spec, I definitely hold onto it. I love cast time reductions, and hate to give them up - especially when the alternative talents are so very weak. Were I in full raid spec, I would dump Empowered Healing in favor of Blessed Resilience and Spiritual Healing. As it stands now, in 5 mans, I use Greater Heal combined with Serendipity enough to justify Empowered Healing.

Do you have any questions about Holy Priest specs? Want some guidance as to what talents to choose? I am happy to help! It's quite a bit of fun for me actually. Shoot me an email at my new email address, missmedicina at gmail dot com, let me know what sort of content you usually heal, what other healers are in your raid (if you raid), and I will do my best to advise you! If you permit me, I'll even post it here so that the rest of the community can give helpful feedback (please note that any rude or disparaging comments will be removed - if you want to be mean, check out the forums, or comment on wow.com ;)). I'm not as good with Disc specs or other classes, but I am still interested in hearing questions or feedback about them.
13 Responses
  1. Edainne Says:

    I actually like having my greater heal reductions in my raiding holy spec just in case a tank healer dies in the middle of the fight. Then again, I'm a holy priest who has lightwell in her spec, so what do I know ;) I think so long as you play it well, and can justify your choices at all, it's all good.

    *I trained my boyfriend to click when he's tanking*

  2. @Edainne

    I'm the same way! When I'm raid healing, I'll drop Empowered Healing, but I keep Divine Fury to maintain my ability to tank heal when needed, especially if the tank healer goes down. I also keep lightwell - it really IS a good spell despite what many might say!

    Actually, Mongrr made a really good post on Save the Lightwell about the awesomeness of lightwell- you should check it out!


  3. Chirri Says:

    I'd read for years that Greater Heal and Lightwell were joke spells for Holy Priests - and it's driven me nuts because they're both spells that I love. Granted, Lightwell DID function as a joke for quite a while, but it was fixed years ago now and works beautifully when used properly (it could use some work, but it's not "useless" anymore, darnit).

    Educate the masses, Miss Medicina. Spread the good word about our under-used and under-appreciated spells! (Man. I really just don't shut up, do I?)

  4. Edainne Says:

    @Miss Medicina

    Actually, the concept of Lightwell's utility was the whole reason I started blogging in the first place. We were having guild chat discussions about how talent trees could be simplified and everyone seemed to think that lightwell was one of the top spells to be on the chopping block. It got to the point where I actually did some hardcore math (that's totally not my style)

    I know! People keep thinking that it's the same vanilla "lolwell".

    Is it too late to create "Save the Lightwell" and "Save the Greater Heal" campaign?

  5. Fish Says:

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on renew. I don't know if it's the druid in me (my first "real" healing class was a druid), but I just feel compelled to have a powerful HoT.

    I've been debating for some time Shammy vs Priest as my "preferred" healer. Priest seems to have a much more varied repetoire, but I dunno, I go back and forth. . .

  6. Kayllnn Says:

    I have a question, for me it seems as though you can accomplish your 5 man healing goals while in a full raid spec, so that when you do raid you don't have to switch specs, is this true?
    I mean I tank on my druid all the time, and I am a full kitty dps spec, and it works out completely fine, just curious if it is that much easier to heal in a five man with these talents, and in your opinion are these talents completely useless in a raid?

  7. Erinys Says:

    My problem with greater heal is that for the content I raid as holy (mostly 25 mans) it's pretty much unnecessary. A lot of fail has to go on before I need to cast it on a tank and I just don't have the talent points to spare. I really feel the removal of downranking didn't help its cause either.

    The one place I do use it a lot is....err battlegrounds. Shadowmeld + well timed greater heals can be great fun.

    However, not having those points, (primarily the cast time reduction and empowered healing) has pushed me into doing 5 mans more and more as disc.

    I suppose this one reason why dual specs just isn't enough. I really want multiple holy builds for doing different things but need a disc offspec for raiding.

    Looking at the Valithria Dreamwalker "heal the boss" fight in Icecrown though I'm wondering whether we'll see an increase in raiding holy priests using greater heal again. Depending on whether Guardian Spirit is intended to work on her or not, I'm already playing around with a couple of possible greater heal centric builds to try out.

    Renew on the other hand, I completely adore and probably over abuse. Especially on any and every fight with predictable incoming damage which is pretty much all of them.

    I suppose this is why I love the priest class, we have so many different ways of getting the job done.

  8. @Chirri

    This is an awesome idea. I foresee an endangered talents post in the near future.


    See, I have a lot of respect for those, like Codi at MoarHPS who can do hardcore maths because I get all flustered.

    You and Chirri have inspired me to start my own "cause" for Christmas - Save the Greater Heal!


    I actually posted a bunch of stuff about Renew a month or so ago... if i weren't totally lazy i would link it to you, but just do a search for pew pew renew on the main page. I think I should do some maths for it too, and compare it to druid HoTness. You guys are giving me all kinds of ideas for posts!

    Priests are pretty well balanced, but I think Shammies get a bad rap these days... I play Alliance side, so you really don't see too many. I recommend reading what some of the survey responders had to say about it though. It would be totally biased of me to tell you Priest all the way!!! But it is true that if you really want to heal, priests are a very solid way to go, because in one class, you'll get quite possibly the most healing variety since there are two specs.


    That may be very true for the other healing classes. For holy priests though, there are soooo many different choices to make for an "optimal raiding spec" that mostly depend on what other healers are in the raid with you. Greater Heal does not get used very often in a raid, but it gets used a lot in a five man. More than anything, I'm just being cheap and don't want to respec until I know what kind of healer makeup i'll have in a raid I'll be in because that will determine what talents I pick up. I don't want to respec more than once. I hate respeccing on principle.


    I haven't read a lot on the Dreamwalker fight yet - I still haven't decided just how much I want to spoiler myself, but I know some of the basics about it... as much as "heal the boss" anyway. I think you're right, and I think we will see a lot more use of Greater Heal for that fight - but I think what will happen is that more people (with the exception of those who switch spec every fight and min max out the wazoo) will pick up Divine Fury, but still skip over Empowered Heal. That's probably what I'll do.

  9. Anonymous Says:

    ...my big comment on why both Greater Heal and Lightwell aren't good for raiding got eaten. >_< It had math, I tell you! MATH!

  10. Jessabelle Says:


    oh noes! I would have liked to see the math too! You may find this shocking but I actually just did some math on greater heal while trying to make another post... And now I'm stumped. I am scared to post my maths because I am worried I made a mistake somewhere! But I'm wondering if it was similar towhat you were thinking before the Internet stole your calculations.

  11. Anonymous Says:

    @ Jess: Post it up, let's see! I have no math for why I dislike Lightwell, though. That tends towards the "arg, I clicked this damn thing, lost my target and the tank died!" *coughs*

  12. @MoarHPS

    Well, I'm trying to do the math to compare Empowered Healing benefit. I'm using the data from wowwiki, but I'm a bit confused by some of their numbers.

    They say that the spellpower coefficient for Greater Heal, for instance, is naturally 161.35% - but that fully specced into Empowered Healing, it becomes 181.35%. The same for Flash Heal, which naturally gets an 80.68% spellpower bonus, but specced into Empowered Healing, it supposedly gets an additional 20%.

    What I don't understand, is that the Empowered Healing tooltip states that it provides an additional 40% of spellpower coefficient for greater heal, but the wowwiki numbers only indicate an additional 20% - and for Flash Heal its supposed to get an extra 20% but wowwiki only indicates an extra 10%. Is this due to some wonky multiplicative thingie or is it possible that their numbers are just wrong?

    the page is here: http://www.wowwiki.com/Spell_power_coefficient

    I've been trying to put together a table showing the differences that amounts to at different spellpower amounts, but I'm confused by the discrepancy of the source.

  13. Anonymous Says:

    @Jess: I have no idea where they're getting their numbers from, frankly. It seems to me that the sample size they're working with is far too small or something. The talent adds the percent in after your full spell coefficient, which they seem to be doing wrong, too. Here's what EJ has listed and I just checked myself:

    Gheal base: 161.11%
    Gheal talented: 225.6%
    Fheal base: 80.7%
    Fheal talented: 96.68%

    There's a chart here if you want to take a look: http://elitistjerks.com/f77/t54618-wotlk_healing_compendium_v3_2_same_old_thing/

    I'm currently typing up mana regen forumlae for a blog post, so I'm swimming in numbers already, yay!

Creative Commons License
Miss Medicina by Miss Medicina is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at missmedicina.blogspot.com.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at missmedicina.blogspot.com.