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I will keep this brief as I know folks like to get to the point!
We are a 7/7M 3/3H raid team looking to add one Resto Shaman or one Holy/Disc Priest to our core raid team. We are on the PVE server Uldum and have been raiding since Vanilla. We raid Tues and Thurs from 8-11 EST and Sunday from 7-11EST. Hit me up in game if this sounds like a match with what you are looking for and we can chat, look at logs, etc!
So on paper this thing seems pretty damn good (if mana isn't going to be an issue).
I got one last night and it very quickly became apparent that the proc is often difficult to utilize optimally. I'm often casting penance right after applying a bunch of atonements and I'll follow it up with a chain of Smites. Because of the way latency works and the best practice of pre-casting just before your gcd completes, it often happens that I cast a Smite, the belt procs and Penance is taken off cooldown, but I'm already casting another Smite because by the time the server gets back to me and tells me Penance is off cooldown, even though it's technically happening instantly when Smite finishes, it's too late and I'm casting something else already. So that GCD is much less effective than it technically could have been.
Because Penance is on such a short cooldown anyways, this often happens when it's one GCD away from coming off cooldown, so the proc itself is completely wasted and it just feels crappy to watch that happen.
Is there any trick, addon or macro I can use to reduce the frequency of this happening, besides waiting half a second after every Smite just to see if the belt procced before using my next spell? Or should I just accept that my Penances are very often going to be used one GCD later than they theoretically could have been?
First world problems, I know, but it would be really cool if I had a way to capitalize on every proc the moment it happens.
I finally grew a pair and took my Disc priest into some pugs and decided to write some notes on my experience.
First observation was that Leap of faith comes in a lot more useful than it should. Because so many mobs now drop "shite" on the floor, not just bosses, and because there are so many people who seem completely oblivious to that purple / green / swirly thing they are standing in, you find yourself pulling them out of it a lot. As my main is a ret pally, it is sad to say that it is predominantly Melee dps who are the culprits for this one, and the overwhelming majority seem to be Demon hunters (not sure if this indicates that a larger number of idiots are playing DH class or or if I just experienced an unbalanced number of them on the day)
Atonement healing: Atonement healing is a great mechanic, but it only works if you plan well in advance. Discipline priests are not and never have been reactive healers, they have always been pro-active, and nothing has changed, now however instead of making sure your bubbles are refreshed, you are now making sure that your atonement is refreshed, so that you can spam your DPS rotation to keep those green numbers flowing. It is not worth keeping atonement up on everyone unless the entire group is taking aoe damage. As long as the tank is doing their job, the only people who should require attention are the tank themselves and the Melee dps who stray into cleave damage or damage pools. If you try to keep atonement up on everyone all the time you will have mana problems, as Plea gets more expensive the more people are buffed.
Shadow mend: Shadow mend is your panic button. for those times when that Melee DPS just wont get out of the damaging pool, or stands in cleave damage, and their health takes a sharp drop, provided you have planned ahead, you should be able to throw in a couple of shadow mends whilst your DOT ticks keep everyone else topped up via atonement. Remembering of course that for as long as you are in combat, Shadowmend also applies a dot on your target, which can be countered with atonement healing but it is worth keeping an eye on them just in case they continue to take high damage for whatever reason. Your healing priorities are still Tank > Yourself > DPS (or Yourself > tank > dps if you are so enclined) so if you are having to spam shadow mend and bubble on a DPS (thus preventing you from atonement healing everyone else) sooner or later your mana will run out and you will just have to let natural selection run its course.
Pain supression: to be honest I didn't need to use this often in dungeons, most tanks are pretty self sufficient in mitigating damage themselves, so its worth keeping it bound to a convenient key as a "just in case" buff, which based on my experience so far, is more likely to be needed by a melee dps than a tank. until the raids go live anyway.
Overall, Disc healing pugs was a challenge, and quite frantic at times, and you do take some schtick for pulling idiots out of danger but better than than taking if for letting them die. This was certainly one of the most fun healer specs ive ever played, and once i have more experience and better gear, i can imagine it will be even more so.
So i've got a bit of a thing for being a healer at the moment. I've always dabbled in it on my pally, even on my druid once, but i LOVE the idea of the new Disc priest, where you apply atonement and then DPS, thus helping the raid / dungeon move forward.
Imagine my excitement when i saw the beta videos on YouTube explaining how it worked.
Imagine my dissappointment when i tried to put it into practice.
I acceopt that this is probably my fault in some way but i cannot get past Proving grounds gold challenge level 4. There is just too much damage coming in, and I d not have sufficient mitigation, by half way through the encounter, I am pretty much having to spam Shadow Mend because the healing from atonement is barely noticable.
Im not level capped yet on this alt so im happy to believe that MAYBE this will improve once i am in class hall gear or something but I am close to just switching back to my holy Pally instead.
Does it get any better or is Disc a dead healing spec?
Up until Legion, I've primary spent my time in game in Areans or BGs, however the concept of Mythic+ really intrigues me. I'm stuck trying though trying to decide which class I want to main spec before Legion comes out.
The reason why it's a concern now, is because I don't want to start dumping my artifact power into one weapon, only to, down the road, regret my decision and switch. To my knowledge there's no way to "refund" artifact power at this time - please stop my now if there is.
Furthermore, I want to chose a spec that's going to be both viable in PVP (3's mostly) and Mythic+ dungeons (I know, I'm asking for a lot here). I already know Shadow is going to be a strong contender in 3's and I'm fairly certain Disc will be as well (I think, I hope). What I don't know, is where do they both stand in Mythic+.
I've stayed away from Legion Dungeons on the beta to avoid spoilers, but on live, they seem to struggle with AoE healing (at least compared to other healers). Has anyone played either spec on the beta, in Mythic+ and would care to share their experience?
I'm sure it'll come up, so let me get it out of the way --- I have no interest in playing Holy. Yes, I know they're an amazing healer. They spec as a whole does not appeal to me, the whole "holy light" thing. I like Disc and Shadow, because of the lore surrounding them and it's what kept me playing a priest for 8 years now.
Thanks in advance for the feedback!