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Spiritual Guidance: Utgarde Keep and the Nexus as Discipline

Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is now Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. Matt scored a beta key and busied himself speccing and respeccing his Priest multiple times and decided to test the new talents in a healing party environment.

After getting a beta key, I was absolutely excited with all the Priest changes and additions made. Several of the other WoW Insider bloggers wanted to get into Utgarde Keep and the Nexus in order to experience both places. The objective was to try out our new toys, of course. The party composition determined the talents I picked up. All in all, it I had a blast tearing through both instances and learned more about the new Discipline talents intimately.

Class composition

Paladin (Protection)
Hunter
Druid (Moonkin)
Warrior (DPS)
Priest (Discipline)

The spec of choice

I made the decision of going deep into Discipline. I wanted to determine how useful the talents were. A lot of Priests frown on using Power Word: Shield so extensively but I love to use it as often as I can. When you're sporting ~900 mana regen, the mana expended to cast PW: Shield is returned pretty quickly. I'll highlight some of the talents I picked up:

Rapture: This talent is supposed to help Priests return their mana. A portion of the damage absorbed by shields from Divine Aegis or PW: Shield is restored. In addition, Greater Heal, Flash Heal, and Penance also restore mana.

Divine Aegis: Critical heals that land help absorb 30% of the amount healed.

Borrowed Time: Increased PW: Shield absorption.

Penance: A channeled heal or damage spell depending on who you target.

Keep in mind that this isn't a leveling spec. This is an instance healing spec for a 70 Priest. Here's the link to the full build. While it's not the most optimized for what I was doing, I wanted to get the talents in and get going to instancing as quick as I could. Note that I intentionally skipped over Power Infusion. A certain Druid informed he of his intentions of going Feral to check out cat DPS ;). I figured there was no point in picking up Power Infusion with all the physical DPS we had. Besides, that point had to be invested in other more important talents anyway.

Utgarde Keep

When Blizzard said they wanted to shorten instance runs, they weren't kidding. To be fair, the WI crew sported many T6 epics which probably contributed to the short run. Alex Ziebart, on his Paladin tank, steamrolled the entire instance. Naturally, the group could only move as fast as our tank. It all depended on the amount of mana he had. In the end, Utgarde took us around 50 minutes to clear out.

Having a Moonkin Druid around skyrocketed my crit percentage to 13%. While it wasn't exactly bomb heal status, it still provided a fair chance for the Aegis to kick in. The effect looks like a player encased in a bubble. This didn't occur to me at the time when I picked the talents, but as I started AoE healing the party at various points I realized that this would trigger multiple Aegis' to kick in. Sure enough, critical heals helped to further blunt incoming damage and and I had a slightly larger margin of error to work with.

I went into Utgarde with 40 drinks in case I ever had to stop and gain mana back. I didn't have to as Rapture helped to offset some of the spells I cast. On the flip side of the coin, we did overgear the instance. It could have either been good trinket use or timely Innervates that I missed. Rapture will need more testing in the upper levels when I begin replacing my gear with level appropriate blues and greens.

The Nexus

Where UK felt like a breeze, the Nexus felt like an eternity. It took us a little over an hour to down the 4 bosses within. This instance really put me through my paces and for the first time I felt like I had to work to keep the party alive at various points. One part which irked me the most was the nature wing of the instance. There were these plant saplings who don't seem to die. When you kill them, they revert to a non-hostile and non-attackable unit. After a minute or so they respawn again as hostile. The whole area was littered with them. As you can imagine, this was the lengthiest part. Not only did we have to clear to Ormorok the Tree-Shaper, we had to turn around and clear our way back through the same ankle biting ferns that slowed us down the first time.

At the end of the night when we were all weary and tired, we managed to tango with a certain dragon by the name of Keristraza.

The rest of the run was a piece of cake after that. Although there was a time when a certain Dwarf Priest mistimed his jump and ended up missing the platform and falling straight down to his death into the abyss below.

A note about Penance

I sometimes forget to use Penance. The times I did remember to use it helped save the group a few times. The fact that it is a channeling spell has thrown me off a few times. It's easy to forget the fact that there is no cast time involved. With about 1050 spell power, it healed a total of 6000 within a span of 3 seconds. I can see it being a great emergency heal to use. As a healer, you won't often get interrupted. As a result, Penance will almost always go through and help your target.

Gear rewards and replacements

Here are two cloth Priest items that I have and how powerful they are relative to my epics. Some of the items aren't fully in the WoWHead databases yet.

Currently wearing: What I now have:
Cowl of Absolution
Band of the Eternal Restorer, Blessed Band of Karabor

I came fairy close to replacing my hard won epics after a night at Utdarde and the Nexus.

The next time I manage to insert myself into an instance group, I intend to go deep Holy and try out the new spells therein.


Want to find more great tips for carrying out your Priestly duties? Spiritual Guidance has you covered with all there is to know!And don't forget to check the WoW Insider Directory for more priestly info!

Filed under: Priest, Instances, Talents, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Wrath of the Lich King

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