Nov 5th 2009 12:05AM Though this post is probably long dead, I feel not much has been said about the Mitigation angle of the Priest. I would argue that it is the most misunderstood "healing" spec. of all, and yet, fulfills a vital role.
Disc Priests are by far the best Single Target/Small Party healers on the market. I don't care how you slice it, mitigation is way more efficient than healing. For this reason, Disc priests are often ushered out of the limelight - especially in the face of Holy Priests or (in raids), Shammies.
But if one were to stop and think of what the actual goal of healing is, the idea of mitigation becomes much more tenable. Healing is about keeping things alive. The beauty of the various classes is that they all go about this in various ways. Thus, as has been posted here many times already, each class fulfills specific roles.
But the Disc priest has been largely left out. Perhaps it is because it is not truly considered "healing". I contend that a Disc priest is, hands down, the best MT healer and small group healer around, mainly because he has the ability to quickly deal with situations - faster than even a pally. Moreover, Disc priests tend to be on par with Pally's for mana efficiency, because they are not spamming heals.
Who then, is the Disc priest for? (This sort of question, IMO, is the most important question when considering rolling a healer) What kind of healing do you want to engage in is the big question. Do you like big numbers flashing all over the screen, or the responsibility of many characters at once? Questions like these should be the basis of class choices.
The Disc priest is for the person who likes clutch situations. You will rarely (if ever), top a healing chart, but you don't need to. The Disc priest runs on two principles: PW:Shield and Penance. Throw in renew here and there and flash heals in a tight space and call it a day. Why waste mana healing when you can have a bloody shield in the way? That is the Disc priest mentality. Disc priests will often have the fastest response times to critical situations, not because they throw down a heal (necessarily), but a shield.
Holy Priests get a lot of praise for topping charts and Group Heals, which they deserve. But, remember the priest who saves everyone with a well timed shield/flash-heal and penance. Think of the Shield (aside from all of the awesome procs. like aegis) as an instant heal that keeps on giving.
Because, if we were honest, "healer efficiency" is a problem for all healers. Druids overheal with HOTs. Shamans in small raids are not so useful with chain-heal. Pallys can't decide whether to spam flash heal or go greater, or stun the target... Holy's, same boat (shield to weak IMO). But the Disc has it easy. Throw down a shield, and take a breath, decide whether to flash or throw a greater, or penance, or whatever!
Moreover, Disc Priests have notoriously large mana pools - which means you can finally tap into the INT stat bonuses on cloth gear without sweating major balance shifts, etc... Why? Disc Priests, in addition to some nice talent bonuses to stats, don't carry the burden of spamming heal spells. A Disc Priest doesn't rely on mana regen because he is often outside of the Mp5 rule. Rather, you can afford to gather a huge mana pool and +crit gear to help you outlast pallys and respond to tight situations. Those who say regen is everything, paradoxically, are those who often find themselves at the bottom of their mana pools, quaffing pots. The Disc Priest does not have this problem. So grab +INT and don't sweat it! Rejoice! Large mana pool = win.
What is the downside? AOE heals are not up to snuff, so you will not be asked to be a raid healer. PVP - better than Holy as far as survivabiliy goes, and your utility will be helpful, but still, not comparable with a Shammy. And if you have ever tried to level a Disc priest (a trial that will ultimately make you a better healer...), you know how terribly frustrating it can be.
Rewards? Peace of mind. As a Disc Priest, more often than not, you can be proactive rather than reactive. PW:Shield is simply the best "healing" spell in the game. Besides all of the potential procs and glyph bonuses, it is the heal that absorbs EXACTLY the amount of damage incoming. Moreover, it is an instant (cast while moving - take that Druids/Shammies! ;) ) You want efficiency? There it is. Add Pain Suppression into the mix and you are laughing. All incoming damage is accounted for in the most efficient way possible.
Honestly, roll a Disc Priest (shadow level if you have to), and see how often you get asked to MT heal (a job that, quite honestly, lets you enjoy an instance run, talk with your friends, and still help pesky rogues and mages out. Or better yet, drop 1k g and dual spec as a Disc Priest. Loads of fun!