PVE Discipline Priest Guide

By Byron Mudry -
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This guide gives you all of the most critical information that you need to know so that you can play a Holy Priest at level 90 in PVE content.  The guide covers talents, glyphs, stats, reforging, and rotations. 

This guide will assume that since you are level 90 you will be able to take the basic information and run with it, simple topics like addons, macros, targeting, and more are not covered.

The Role of a Discipline Priest

As a Discipline Priest your obvious role in a group is to heal other players. Priests in general have long been looked at as one of the best healers around, and that is no different in Mists of Pandaria. While there are arguments to be made for Discipline or Holy as the better of the Priest healing specs, they both have their strong points and dependant on your healing role, either holy or discipline will be better for you. Disciple Priests focus heavily on damage absorption and damage mitigation instead of pure healing. While they do put out a lot of healing, their main goal is preventing it before they actually have to heal it.

A Discipline Priest can provide several benefits and abilities to help out a group they are in besides simply the healing that they provide.

  • Provides the stamina raid buff - Power Word: Fortitude, boosting all players stamina by 10%.
  • Can boost mana regeneration to the raid with Hymn of Hope.
  • Can provide protection from fear with Fear Ward, which is very useful for some raid fights.
  • Can cleanse magic and disease effects from friendly players with Purify, or from a number of players at once with Mass Dispel.
  • A short term AOE CC with Psychic Scream.
  • Can pull friendly players out of danger with Leap of Faith.

Discipline Priest Talents and Glyphs

Discipline Priests can fiill the role of generic raid healer or tank healer almost without worrying about talents or glyphs simply by changing your healing rotations. Even though this section recommends several talents and glyphs to optimize healing, they are not significant enough that you can not make other talent or glyph choices if you see others that better suit your play style.

As a Discipline Priest the recommended talents are as follows:

Power Word: Solace (Tier 3 talent) - This talent upgrades your Holy Fire ability to the Power Word: Solace ability. This version deals upgraded damage, is a free cast, heals a nearby ally, as well as regenerating 1% mana. While it focuses on damage rather than direct healing, the 1% mana boost is great as is the healing that automatically hits a player in need.

Power Infusion - (Tier 5 talent) - This talent gives you an amazing buff on a 2 minute cooldown that increases your haste by 20%, spell power by 5%, and reduces all of your mana costs by 20% for the 20 second duration. This is a huge increase to your throughput and healing and since the cooldown is 2 minutes and it lasts for 20 seconds, it can be active for 1/6th of every fight.

Cascade (Tier 6 talent) - This talent grants you a new ability that does healing or damage depending on if the target is friendly or an enemy. In either form it travels to its target and heals or causes damage and then splits into two and travels to additional targets, then splits again, travels and splits again. It does 3 bounces total and therefore hits a total of 9 targets. It's a great utility heal or situational damage ability on a 25 second cooldown.

For Discipline Priests there are a few major Glyphs that can help out your healing. None offer a significant enough increase in your healing that they are 100% required though.

The ones to consider are: Glyph of Holy Fire and Glyph of Penance. Glyph of Holy Fire boosts the range on you Holy Fire and upgraded Power Word: Solace ability by 10 yards, making it easier to use while at distance. Glyph of Penance allows you to use your Penance ability while moving, but makes it cost 20% more mana. This can be extremely helpful for any fight that requires movement though, so is worth having.

Discipline Priest Stat Priority

It is important to understand your stat priority for your class, as going after the wrong stats can really hurt your ability to play that class. For a Discipline Priest the key stats are those that allow you to heal for big numbers and over a long period of time.

The stat priority for a Discipline Priest is as follows:

Intellect > Spirit > Crit > Mastery >Haste

Important Notes:

  • Crit– Crit it a massive stat for Discipline Priests since it boosts the healing and absorb / mitigation ability of so many of their spells.
  • Mastery - This is a great stat for Discipline Priests because it boosts both the absorb effects and your direct healing by a % based on your Mastery rating. It provides twice as much of a boost to your absorb effects when compared to your direct heals.
  • Haste– Unlike Holy Priests and many other healers which prioritize haste to increase the ticks of their HOTs and decrease the cast time of their spells, Discipline Priests don't need it. Most of their spells are either instants or not HOT based.

Reforging as a Discipline Priest

When reforging simply follow the stat priority above for Discipline Priest and move the lowest stat to the highest stat that the piece does not have on it. We will ignore Intellect and Stamina as every piece you get will also have those.

If your gear has these two stats…

Reforge this stat…

… to this stat

Spirit + Crit

Do not reforge

Do not reforge

Spirit + Mastery

Mastery

Crit

Spirit + Haste

Haste

Crit

Crit + Mastery

Mastery

Spirit

Crit + Haste

Haste

Spirit

Mastery + Haste

Haste

Spirit

Important Notes:

  • Spirit - At some point while gearing up you will get to an amount of spirit that allows your mana to last through the longest fights that you are dealing with. Once you have reached that point you can start to prioritize Crit and Mastery over Spirit on upgrades as long as you make sure that you maintain the amount of spirit that you already had, and continue to monitor your mana in fights, if at any point you start having mana issues, reforge some spirit back onto your gear.

Discipline Priest Cooldowns

There are several cooldowns that you can use as a Discipline Priest that can play a big part in your healing rotation.  Some of these are based on your talent choices made from the section above and are discussed there. The rest of the cooldowns you should use are as follows:

Hymn of Hope – This is a really long cooldown at 6 minutes but does a lot. It restores 2% mana every 2 seconds for the 8 seconds that you can channel it for to up to 3 players (whomever has the lowest mana within range) as well as upping their maximum mana by 15% for 8 seconds. To get the most use of this ability you should use as soon as you bring out your shadowfiend.

Shadowfiend – This is a great mana regen ability on a 3 minute cooldown. It summons a pet that restores 3% mana every time it hits, and it lasts for 12 seconds. You should use this cooldown as often as you can as soon as you are below about 70% mana, so that you get it back for a second or third time during a boss fight.

Archangel - Use this whenever you reach max evangelism to gain a 5% boost to your healing per charge consumed for 18 seconds.

Inner Focus - This is a short 45 second ability that makes your next heal crit as well as costing 25% less mana. Make sure you use this when you are trying to recover the tanks health after a big hit.

Pain Suppression - This is a great ability for either yourself or to use on the tank when there is burst damage coming in. It is a 3 minute cooldown that reduces all damage by 20% for 8 seconds.

Power Word: Barrier - This ability allows you to reduce all incoming damage to everyone in an area by 25% for 10 seconds and to make them immune to spell interruption. It is on a 3 minute cooldown, so save it for a time when there is a lot of incoming AOE damage and the raid is clustered together for best effect.

Void Shift – This ability is a long 5 minute cooldown ability that allows you to swap health percentages with another player. It also heals the lesser player to 25% health. This is a great save ability when cast on a tank that is about to die since you will generally have full health since you are hanging back at a distance.

Discipline Priest Single Healing Target Rotation

Healing is a lot more about situational awareness than about a set rotation. As a Discipline Priest this is even more important since so many of your spells are about preventing damage rather than actually healing damage. It gets even more complicated since there are two different single target healing types as a Discipline Priest. The first way to heal is all about your actual healing, the second is about using Atonement to allow you damage dealing abilities to heal nearby players in need. The Atonement method is usually better for bosses you have on farm status or for trash fights.

 

Normal Healing Rotation

The rotation that provides the most efficient healing output against a single target is roughly as follows:

1 - Inner Fire– Keep this self buff active at all times to boost your armour and your spell power.

2 - Power Word: Shield - Keep this active on your target to prevent damage.

3 - Penance - Use on cooldown whenever the target has only a little damage, as this heals nearby players as well.

4 - Prayer of Mending - Keep this active and bouncing around whenever there is damage on multiple targets.

5 - Renew - Keep this active on the main target to have a HOT healing them over time to smooth out healing requirements.

6 - Heal or Greater Heal - Use on the target depending on the amount of health that needs to be healed. Heal for a small amount and Greater Heal for a large amount.

7 - Flash Heal - Use only as an emergency heal for players that need health quickly.

 

Atonement Healing Rotation

The rotation that provides the most efficient damage / healing output against a single target while using the atonement method of healing is as follows:

1 - Inner Fire– Keep this self buff active at all times to boost your armour and your spell power.

2 - Archangel - Use when you get to 5 Evangelism to boost your healing.

2 - Power Word: Shield - Keep this active on your target to prevent damage.

3 - Penance - Use on cooldown to help build up Evangelism charges. If your main target has full health use it to deal damage, otherwise heal your target.

4 - Power Word: Solace - Use this on cooldown all the time to build up Evangelism charges as well as providing some AOE healing.

5 - Smite - Use this to build up Evangelism charges as well as dealing damage and providing healing through Atonement.

Discipline Priest AOE Healing Rotation

Discipline Priests can put out a good deal of AOE healing on demand by using just two spells. They can also chose to provide AOE healing by continuing to use the Atonement healing method described above. If you chose to not use the Atonement method you can AOE heal by using these two spells and one self buff:

1 - Inner Fire– Keep this self buff active at all times to boost your armour and your spell power.

2 - Prayer of Mending - Keep this active and bouncing around whenever there is damage on multiple targets as soon as it is available.

3 - Prayer of Healing - A really good AOE heal that hits all friendly players within 30 yards. Use this repeatedly though high AOE damage phases.

Comments on Discipline Priests

Do you have something to add on how to get the most out of a Discipline Priest in a PVE setting? Let us know by sharing in the comment section below.

 

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About The Author

Byron "Messiah" Mudry
Byron has been writing about World of Warcraft for the past ten years, and currently has a not-so-secret love affair with Hearthstone and Diablo III.

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