Ghostcrawler Talks Priesting
There have been a couple of pretty interesting discussions over on the WoW Healing forums over the past week that have received some response from Ghostcrawler.

The first I want to touch on is a post titled "Role of Disc priest???? Is there one?"

If that title doesn't make you cringe a bit, then you obviously have a lot more patience than I do. Regardless, the discussion that followed was "interesting" enough to garner a few responses from Ghostcrawler, which I think were more in response to people misunderstanding exactly what Disc Priests DO.

I had to laugh a bit as his initial response, as it sounded a bit like he was trying to give Disc Priests a textbook definition... which, come to think of it, maybe he was.
Discipline priests specialize in single-target heals and damage prevention. They are nonetheless fairly well rounded and have some fun tools, such as Power Infusion and Pain Suppression.

Later he added a clarification:

Perhaps I should have said "single-target HEALING" since unglyphed PW:S isn't technically a heal. But any Disc priest who is trying to heal multiple people at once is probably doing it wrong. You can raid heal effectively by targeting one person at a time, and that's what Disc priests do. Shaman and Holy priests can heal several people simultaneously.
I think a lot of people didn't particularly like this definition. Paolo seems more than a little skeptical at least. For my part, I actually agree with Ghostcrawler completely.

I'm planning on talking more about this topic next week, but let's clear this up now - Single Target Healing does not necessarily equate to Tank Healing. Disc Priests can be a single target raid healer (no, that's not an oxymoron). It is no surprise that Holy Paladins have the ability to be better tank healers in general than disc priests, because disc priests still have a stronger ability to raid heal. Therefore, if Disc Priests were just as strong as Pally healers in the tank healing realm, they would be imbalanced.

I was going to draw you all a very lovely diagram to show where each healing class falls on the spectrum, but I decided that would just be asking for an argument. Any healer can be a tank healer, and any healer can be a raid healer. This is absolutely required so that each healing class can effectively heal in a 5 man environment. That having been said, of course some classes will be stronger at one type of healing than the other.

One of the constant complaints from priests is the perceived lack of a definitive niche. The trouble with that argument, however, is that our niche is, in fact, the flexibility that simultaneously leads to accusations of lacking a niche. Capisce niche?

But, with two healing specs in one class, what you do have is a "leaning". Both Disc and Holy have the ability to do some powerful single target healing. Both can do some nice group healing. Disc, however, leans much farther in the single target category, with Grace, Penance, and individual bubbles guiding the way. Holy is stronger in multi-target healing, with Circle of Healing and hasted Prayer of Healing. Yet they both still retain the intrinsic flexibility that defines the Priest class. A Disc Priest can still use Holy Nova and Prayer of Healing. A Holy Priest can still use a Power Word: Shield, and a hasted Greater Heal.

It is an error to disregard the features of your class you do not regularly use when considering balance issues. If all I ever chose to do as a Disc Priest was tank heal, then maybe I would feel a bit miffed about my inferiority to a Holy Pally. However, I switch up the roles depending on the fight - sometimes a shammy or a druid will do better healing the tank on this fight, while the other features of my ever-flexible class allow me to handle some fight mechanic better than another healer (Saurfang pre-BP change, Rotface). If you pigeon-hole yourself, you will always be disappointed when Blizz tries to maintain a balance amongst the healing classes.

How Does Ghostcrawler Heal?

In a separate thread about Priests, GC gave us some interesting insight into how he plays his priest.

Disc: PoM on cooldown. PW:S as much as you can (esp. on the Arcane mage until 3.3.3). Use Penance often when you need burst. Resort to PoH if a lot of people need healing at once, especially in 10-player raids where you don’t have a lot of other healers to pick up the slack. Keep Pain Suppression and Divine Hymn for emergencies. Use Power Infusion on a mage or lock if you don’t need it.

Holy: PoM on cooldown. CoH on cooldown if there is any raid damage. Renew to handle the rest of the raid damage. Flash Heal if someone is still low after all of that. Save GS and Divine Hymn for emergencies or timed boss cooldowns. I tend to use Binding Heal a lot more than most priests because it makes me feel smart, especially when globals are in question.

What I like: Feeling smart when I mix the right tool with the right problem. Saving lives when someone thought they were dead. Sitting there at full mana halfway through a fight because I didn’t heal when I didn’t need to. Penance in general. Body and Soul. Borrowed Time. Serendipity.

What I don’t like: Using CoH so much. Dealing with Weakened Soul (esp. as Holy). Lightwell. Seeing priests die. (In all honesty I don’t die a lot, but I see Spirits of Redemption constantly. I guess as a sweeping generalization, priests have the stare-at-Grid syndrome worse than other healers.) Blowing 3 candles every wipe. Looking like a mage if I pick the wrong gear.

I found this an enjoyable read, and there's a lot more where that came from. Ghostcrawler was very chatty yesterday with Priests. I usually prefer to link directly to the forums, but since I really can't copy and paste all the interesting things he told us about his healing experiences here, I'm going to link to the MMO-Champion summary that shows each of his responses. It's a pain to try and sift through the whole thread at times.

12 Responses
  1. Xeppe Says:

    What bothers me most is that his perception of where Disc is at and mine are considerably divergent--we are just not at the same picnic.
    I get taken to ICC in Disc to spam shields across the raid. If they wanted an MT healer they'd take a Pally, and there are several classes/specs better for raid heals. This shield spamming niche is where a lot of ordinary raiding Disc Priests are right now--and he's not acknowledging that. And this niche is not where the T10 cloth healy gear is (and certainly not where the T10 4 piece bonus is). And despite several ICC encounters benefiting considerably from having a spammy Disc Priest along, it looks like it's not where the game designers heads are either.
    But you are right, that he will engage in a dialogue with players is fantastic. TYVM for linking it.

  2. Miss Says:


    There is a lot of truth in what you say. It does seem as though something is lacking for disc priests in 25 man, though I think were great in ten man. As a tank healer the gear is itemized fine... As a raid healer, it's just not. you need hardly any haste for shield spamming, and crit doesn't affect shields either.

    I feel like disc priests can tank heal fine even in 25 man, but they just can't compete with pallies because a pally can simultaneously keep up the tank And the off tank. Were lacking some ability somewhere that will give us more sense of purpose in a 25 man envirnment.

  3. Daxlim Says:

    I think he might be well aware of our "just" shield spamming activity. It's how he heals himself: "PW:S as much as you can" The difference is that he probably doesn't see it as an issue and neither do I for that matter. So we spam shields, what's there to acknowledge, that it's bad? I don't see it that way.

    If I compare disc to other classes, I don't see much difference. Every healing class has one spell that he/she uses most of the time. The filler, so to speak. For disc that's the shield, when PoM and Penance are on cooldown.

    I do think shields are "boring" on the bars. It often feels like I'm not really doing anything. It would be nice if the unit frame authors could make shields more visual, like they did with incoming heals.

  4. Domni Says:

    That thread was a very strange experience. I was involved before GC arrived and I was astounded by the posts that were being issued. It seemed I was the only one who understood discipline priests, aside from a lone quiet druid. I left for an hour and came home to find GC had popped up and suddenly there were four more pages of posts. None of which really ever answered the original question.

    Personally, I was dissatisfied with his comment. It spurred more trolling rather than providing a reasonable view of discipline priests. Kudos to him for at least coming and trying to correct the misinterpretations that spawned.

    I also think I'm in a different place than most Discipline priests are. I AM tank healing and I see beyond shields as my primary source of healing, although I'm flexible enough to move into the raid during some fights and I recognize the helpfulness of bubbling the raid.

  5. Domni Says:

    I rescind some of my criticism. New pages have been added since I last saw the thread and the discussion was enriched a little by the debate. Glad to see people thinking about things, but confused by some of the opinions.

    Discipline does seem to be controversial, which is fun in its own way.

  6. Paolo Says:

    In 10-man raids, a good disc priest is a powerful force, able to partner with any other healer (other than another disc!) for great victory. In 10s, the pressure is high and the ability to shield-spam is limited by the number of people available to shield!

    In 25s, GC is correct stating that disc is OP. Shield-spam is game-changing, unique, and borderline essential on some fights. But that doesn't match his claim of single-target power & versatility. Those aspects shine in 10s, and are 100% suppressed in 25s.

    Lastly, Blizz has repeated stated they want ALL classes to be fun, and (specifically) to not be single-spell-spammers. Remember warlocks in BC? They want us to *weave*, and have did some great work to accomplish that early in WotLK. (Serendipity, Borrowed Time, etc.) Things have gotten a bit off-course since then, at least for disc in 25.

  7. @Paolo

    Yeah I think you're right about 25s. I had fun as Disc in ToC25, but the only 25s I regularly do otherwise are VoA where I can tank heal.

    TBH shield spamming does not excite me. Shields are nice and all but... PENANCE SPARKLES.

  8. Eversor Says:

    I particularly like the part where he mentions that disc priests specialize in damage prevention :) That is a fantastical choice of words...and very

  9. Xeppe Says:

    Daxlim - I want him to acknowledge the shield spam role by designing and implementing some cool gear that is actually itemized for the role.

    No, it's not a bad niche, I love it! PW:S ftw!

  10. Chirri Says:

    @Daxlim -

    Have you tried VuhDo? It's replaced Grid/Clique for me, and offers the buff icon and a shrinking timer bar, as well as the Weakened Soul debuff on raid member's bars. You can move the icons around at will, and the timer bar between a few options as well. My biggest problem previously had been that I couldn't tell how long non-absorbed PW:S would still last (now fixed with VuhDo for me), and I the Weakened Soul debuff was very hit and miss in terms of actually showing.

    While I'm not exactly sure what you mean by making it more visual for us, but this was the first thing I thought of when I read your comment. It seems small, but it's made a huge difference for me. (And I'm loving a lot of other things about the mod, as well, but I won't go on and on about them here XD)

    I have to read through the MMOChampion consolidated set of GC posts, but what little I have read synchs with my experiences.

    I'd have to admit that I'm "lucky" enough in my 25s raiding that we simply haven't GOT a Pally healer most of the time, so I'm the only option left to my guild. At the same time, I'm horribly aware that my healing power falls so far short of Pally healing that it's pathetic. I adore our Pally healer when he's available, but for the most part... he's not. We've got a lot of Pally tanks floating around lately, though.

  11. Daxlim Says:


    I still haven't tried VuHDo yet. It has been on my to-try list for ages though, just like that naga mouse and belkin keypad. I'd have tried all if it didn't take so long for me to get used to new things.

    What you're saying about the shield timer does sound a bit like what Healbot does too. HB slowly fades shields away and shows a small counter in the end. That was very useful already.

    The picture I had in my mind though had healthbars with a blue extention to the current health, which represents the shield (remaining). I'm not sure how that should work on a full health bar, but even if it didn't show there, it would at least show the other healers they could panic a bit less about those shielded near dead persons. It would hopefully also visualize the usefulness of disc priests a lot better.

  12. Anonymous Says:

    I am just so jealous of the US priest boards. :-(

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