The second part of my updated Guide to Evaluating Healers with World of Logs focuses on Discipline Priests. Thank you to the awesome Derevka of Tales of a Priest, who reviewed the post and shared some of his Priestly knowledge with me.
(This post may be easier to read, with less squishy pictures, over on the guide page).
Here are specific things to look for when analyzing discipline priest logs. It’s best to look at specific kills or attempts in order to get meaningful numbers.
Discipline priests are the masters of mitigation. They are great tank healers but are also capable of putting out a huge amount of absorbs on the raid through Spirit Shell, DA and PW:S. Disc Priests have a wide variety of spells and cooldowns to manage.
Healing by Spell
Spell selection – Is the priest using the appropriate spells?
Priests have: Heal, Greater Heal, Flash Heal, Binding Heal, Penance, Atonement, Power Word: Shield, Spirit Shell, Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Renew, Divine Aegis (passive effect), and one of Cascade, Halo or Divine Star (Tier 6 talents).
With few exceptions, Spirit Shell and Divine Aegis should be a Disc Priest’s top heals. Spirit Shell is extremely powerful when used correctly. Atonement and Power Word: Shield should be up there as well. On fights with lots of raid damage, the Tier 6 talent (usually Cascade) should also provide a lot of healing.
Spells that may show not show up in the logs much – or at all – include:
Flash Heal: For lesser geared healers, Flash Heal should be used in emergencies only since it is extremely inefficient. For healers who are overgeared and/or have access to a lot of mana cooldowns, it may show up more frequently.
Renew: This spell is very weak for Disc Priests. It may be rolled on a tank or cast on the move, but overall it should not make up a significant portion of healing done.
Heal: Though Heal is very efficient, it does relatively little healing. Priests may not use it in favour bigger, more expensive heals.
Notes on specific spells:
Power Word: Shield
Power Word: Shield should be kept up on the tank(s), or cast on anyone else taking very heavy raid damage. PW:S should be cast often – at least every 12 seconds for the Rapture proc, but usually more often than that. You want to see fairly low overhealing on this.
Penance is a fairly cheap heal that hits 3 times in rapid succession. It is an excellent way to get a 3-stack of Grace up on a target, and is also great for Atonement heals. This should be used close to on cooldown (cooldown is 9 seconds). Priests should be using Penance more for Atonement healing than direct healing.
Power Word: Solace
On most fights, you want to see that Priests have taken (and are using) Power Word: Solace as their Tier 3 talent. It provides a free, instant, smart heal so is great in terms of both HPS and HPM. It has a 10-second cooldown and should be used often.
The only reason for a Disc Priest to not take PW:Solace is if the extra damage from Mindbender is really needed.
There are three spells Priests can cast offensively that cause Atonement healing: Penance, Smite and Holy Fire (or Power Word: Solace, depending on talent choices). To see how these spells are being used, check the damage by spell tab. Penance is the most efficient, powerful heal and should appear at the top of damage done, followed by Smite, then Holy Fire/PW:Solace.
Cascade will be a Disc Priests tier 6 talent of choice in most situations. It’s a smart heal that heals 15 people and has only a 25 second cooldown. You should see this used often and providing a fair amount of healing on any fight where the raid is taking significant damage.
Prayer of Mending
Priests should be casting this on cooldown so it should provide a fair bit of their healing. With the 2T15 bonus, PoM should account for even more.
This is a newer cooldown for Priests that allows them to switch their health with the health of their target. It’s not something that will be used on cooldown or anything, but it you should see it used at least a few times over the course of a raid. Check the amount healed (it should be high per cast) to see if the Priest is faster with VS than your Pallies are with LoH. There is a slight delay in the health exchange after this has been cast.
This screen will tell you how often a priest is using their cooldowns, along with the uptime on key abilities.
Prayer of Mending – PoM should be cast on cooldown and be up as much as possible. 80%+ uptime is a good target for most fights. However, if the fight has people constantly taking damage (like Tortos) it will likely run out of charges before the cooldown is up again and the uptime will be lower (probably around 60%.)
Grace – With Disc Priests’ focus on Atonement healing, Grace is a bit of an outdated mechanic. If the Priest is strictly assigned to tank healing, you want to see Grace up on that target all the time. However, since Discs are such powerful raid healers, Grace uptime is likely to be low and not something to worry too much about. Grace should have a higher uptime in 10s than 25s.
Archangel – Archangel consumes stacks of Evangelism, giving 5% increased healing per stack. It has a 30 second cooldown and lasts 18 seconds, so the maximum uptime is 60%, though it won’t be up this often in practice. You want to see the Priest using Archangel often throughout the fight, and only when they are at 5 stacks of Evangelism.
To see how Evangelism and Archangel are being lined up, click the # beside both. Hovering over the Evangelism bars will show how many stacks it was at. You want to see 5 stacks before the Archangel bar lights up.
Inner Focus – Inner Focus makes your next spell cost less mana and a guaranteed crit. It has a 45 second cooldown and should be used often. A good practice is to use Inner Focus before a PoH while Spirit Shell is active.
Clicking the # next to Inner Focus and Spirit Shell will show you if these things are being lined up, as they are in the example above.
Inner Sanctum / Inner Will – One of these should be up all the time. However, if the Priest casts one of these before the fight begins and never switches it, it won’t show up here.
Hymn of Hope – Hymn of Hope restores mana to the raid and should be used on every fight. It has an 8 minute cooldown. You should see 12 ticks to indicate that it was channelled for the full duration.
Pain Suppression – Pain Suppression has a three-minute cooldown. Its use will often be prescribed by the raid leader. You should see PS used 1-3 times on most fights, depending on length.
Power Infusion (optional talent) – Power Infusion reduces casting time and the cost of spells. It has a 2 minute cooldown. It should be used often. Pairing it with Spirit Shell can make a very powerful combo.
Trinkets – If the priest has any on-use trinkets, or racials like Arcane Torrent they should be used as much as possible. Compare the cooldown to the amount of times used.
Other things to look for
There are a few important things that won’t show up under Healing Done or Buffs Cast, and you’ll have to look for them using the Expression Editor.
Power Word: Barrier
To find out how often PW:B is used, you need to use the Expression Editor. Go to Dashboard > Expression Editor and add in the following (replace the sourceName with the name of the priest):
sourceName = "Priest"
and (Spell = "Power Word: Barrier")
This will show you how many times PW:B was cast. If you want more details, such as how many people were affected by the Barrier, just use (Spell = “Power Word: Barrier”) as the query.
This restores mana to the priest and does some damage too. Shadowfiend has a 3 minute cooldown. Paste in the following query (replace the sourceName with the name of the Priest):
sourceName = "Priest"
and (Spell = "Shadowfiend")
If the Priest has specced into Mindbender, it has only a 1 minute cooldown. Paste in the following query (replace the sourceName with the name of the Priest):
sourceName = "Priest"
and (Spell = "Shadowfiend")
No matter which ability the Priest has, you should see it used first within about a minute of the start of the fight and then again whenever it’s off cooldown.