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Spiritual Guidance: Lightwell vs. Lightspring, plus new priest glyph and talent animations

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers the healing side of things for discipline and holy priests. She also writes for LearnToRaid.com and produces the Circle of Healing Podcast.

The latest build on the Mists of Pandaria beta allowed players to purchase the newly implemented major and minor glyphs we spoke about two weeks ago. In the video above, you'll find animations for Glyph of Shadowy Friends, Glyph of Lightspring, Glyph of the Heavens, Glyph of Holy Resurrection, and Glyph of the Val'kyr. Is it just me, or does it look like Lightspring is casting mini Penance balls at its target? Perhaps there is a tiny disc priest trapped inside every Lightspring ... Hmm.

While we're on the topic of Lightspring, there has been an interesting development since the glyph was first announced. Originally, it looked like Lightspring would heal players for less than Lightwell, a sort of toll for the fact that Lightspring was automated. In the latest beta build, however, it now looks like the HoTs from both Lightwell and Lightspring will heal for the same amount over time.

I'm guessing the developers decided there wasn't much reason to reduce the amount of healing Lightspring does per tick since the 5 seconds of downtime between each heal is a limitation in itself. By only allowing the Lightspring to heal once every 5 seconds, the heal isn't any better than a single-target heal from another player, save for the fact that it will work while you're doing other things.

Lightwell vs. Lightspring: The strategic differences

In my own experience, the strength of Lightwell is that in a dire moment where GCDs are few and far between, clicking the Lightwell is an effective way to provide additional healing to the raid without stopping what you're doing, whether that's focusing heals on a tank or running for your life.

The amount of HPS a Lightwell does is dynamic, meaning it can provide a lot or a little healing based on how many people use it at once. Though individual players are limited by the amount of charges they can receive in a set period of time, the raid as a whole is not; if you get 15 players to click on the Lightwell at once, you'll add an extra 100,000 healing to the raid from just one tick of Lightwell Renew.

Lightspring, on the other hand, has static HPS. Even if there is always a player under 50% health in range to receive a heal, Lightspring can't do any more healing than one Lightspring Renew every 5 seconds.

What many healers don't understand about Lightwell is that it really can break up the flow of a DPSer or tank. A healer's job is to constantly thinking about surviving, but DPSers have to think about surviving and killing the boss; tanks have to think about surviving and protecting the raid. Asking non-healers to divert their attention from their jobs when there are plenty of heals to go around is a bit silly. That's why it's better to use Lightwell more strategically and only ask other players to divert their attention to a Lightwell when there aren't plenty of heals to go around. In that situation, there's actually a compelling reason to break your focus, since you can't DPS when you're dead.

So in that sense, Lightwell will always be better in a situation where lots of healing is needed. Any phase in a fight where you'd use a raid cooldown like Divine Hymn or Tranquility is a point in a fight where Lightwell has potential to be strong. Though you can drop a Lightwell on cooldown from the start to the finish of the fight, doing so ignores the fact that there is plenty of healing to go around most of the time.

The advantage of Lightspring is that it functions more like having an extra healer in the raid. It might be a slow and slightly impaired healer, but it's still constantly provides healing regardless of how good or bad things are going. It's reliable and automatic, and it will probably offer more to your party than Lightwell when only medium or light damage is happening. Lightspring will also always be better in PUGs or any other group of players that don't use Lightwell because they're stubborn.

Correction: After some additional testing with more players in my party (previously I had tested it with just myself and one other) I noticed some discrepancies to what I originally reported. I'm not sure if what I ended up finding out is intended or not, but the Lightspring will actually heal a player every second as long as that player is under 50% health and does not already have the Lightspring Renew buff on him. There is a slight momentary delay between each heal (probably a GCD worth) and the lowest health player does seem to be prioritized each time, but you can actually dry up the charges on a Lightspring in a matter of seconds if you have enough people around who are under 50%. If this behavior stays the same, Lightspring could be used more like Divine Hymn is now. That's definitely a big difference than what I originally concluded, and I could see it being a new must have glyph if it keeps like this. We'll have to keep an eye on this one.

Honestly, I wish Lightspring and Lightwell functioned more like Chakra. You could only have one of the two up at once, but you'd be able to change which one you used in the middle of combat so as to not be locked into one for the duration of a whole fight. I'd love to use Lightspring early on, then swap to Lightwell at other times. Blizzard -- pleaaassse!

Glyph of Confession: The tiniest novelty

I also finally got to test out the Glyph of Confession, and sadly, it's not nearly as neat as I was hoping it might be. There's no unique spell animation for it -- in fact, there's no spell animation for it at all. The only thing that it does is have the targeted player send a line of chat like this.
[Fox Van Allen] confesses: I sometimes listen to Taylor Swift for inspiration.

Perhaps the animation for the spell is in development still, but the overall content is a bit of a disappointment too. The developers seem to have gone in a direction that reflects more the voice of the player than the character, though I suppose it could be the character in a way. Here are some examples of confessions I've received.
  • "I don't know if Millhouse is a good guy or not."
  • "I ask for the Light to give me strength, but I'm not sure if it really does."
  • "I don't treat all of my mounts equally."
  • "I go into dungeons not to make Azeroth a better place, but just for loot."
  • "I sometimes use my mount to travel really short distances. I mean really short."
  • "I fell off of Dalaran."
Some of the confessions are cute, admittedly, but I'm not sure I have the patience to use this glyph when the spell has a 30-minute cooldown. I do wonder how many confessions there are, though, and whether or not Blizzard would consider adding more as time goes on.


New Talent Animations: Angelic Feather, Angelic Bulwark, Psyfiend

In addition to the new glyphs, several new talent animations have been added to the game as well. Angelic Feather, Angelic Bulwark, and Psyfiend received new animations recently, and I must say, they're really well done. Angelic Bulwark and Angelic Feather continue to play up the angel thing us priests have got going for us, while Psyfiend looks like a cross between a Shadowfiend and a Voidwalker. (I told you shadow was the gateway spec to warlocks!)

As you can see, I thought to add a few other animations, including the behavior that Prayer of Mending adopts after Divine Insight procs for holy priests. There's no difference in the animation, but it is pretty cool to watch in action.

Come to Spiritual Guidance for the inside line on current healing gear and trinkets, as well as advice for healing in Dragon Soul. Newcomer to the priest class? Look into leveling a healing priest, and consult our guides to Discipline Priest 101 and Holy Priest 101.

Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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