Greetings, guildmates and guests! In this topic, we will discuss the differences between disc healing and holy healing, and how it applies to raiding in Warlords of Draenor.
Both disc and holy healing are viable in current raiding content (Highmaul), though each is extremely situational depending on boss battles and the composition of the rest of your healing team. Do you have viable raid-wide healing via resto druids or resto shamans? Do you have another disc priest in the raid? All of these factors will determine whether the team will need a holy or discipline priest, regardless of anything else. As Divine Aegies and other disc priest shielding heals do not stack on top of one another, it is not viable to have two disc priests in a raid (unless doing Mythic raiding, where the damage is so significant that the shields don't last long). Also, keep in mind that Intellect and Spirit are not included in the stat priority, as you will not be enchanting/gemming those stats and they are entirely situational depending on the rest of your gear and playstyle.
Some key differences between Holy and Disc priests:
With the loss of our Hymn of Hope in this expansion, we now have to conserve mana even more. Holy heals are very mana-costly.
Mostly AoE healing.
Single-target heals have CDs.
Tranq-like healing CD (Divine Hymn)
HoTs (Echo of Light, Renew, Prayer of Mending)
Level 100 talents designed better for fights where lots of damage is going out.
Ideal when your raid does not have a resto druid or resto shaman, or you are doing non-Mythic raiding and there is already another discipline priest on the healing team.
Stat priority is Multistrike > Haste > Mastery
Spells are not as mana-costly.
Mostly rapid single target healing.
Single-target heals have low CDs (Power Word: Shield does not have a CD at all)
No raid wide healing CD--only mitigation (Barrier, Spirit Shell)
Mostly mitigation healing via Power Word: Shield and Divine Aegis (Clarity of Will, fight-depending)
Level 100 talents designed for mitigating damage.
Ideal for almost any raid environment unless there is another discipline priest on the team in a non-Mythic raid, or the fight consists mostly of raid-wide damage.
Stat Priority is Mastery > Haste > Spirit
Currently in Highmaul, discipline healing is the preferred spec on all bosses due to the mobility of Power Word: Shield. Since a lot of the fights involve heavy movement and big attacks that can one-shot or at the very least bring health down extremely low, mitigation healing paired with a good raid healer like a restoration druid is ideal. However, holy healing is also good on many fights, especially if there is already a disc priest on the team. This will be explained more in detail in another thread, where I will break down each and every spec by boss and list the PROs and CONs.
Current Warlords raids also require consistent or big movements throughout the encounter. Having a lot of instant casts (so running Tier 3 Talent Surge of Light) is ideal. Because Power Word: Shield in discipline spec has no CD, it is the most useful instant case heal in a priest's arsenal, as it can also provide a speed buff with Tier 2 Talent Body and Soul.
Though to optimize efficiency and output there are certainly some very clear positives to discipline healing, both discipline and holy have their place in Highmaul raiding. With some practice and correct stat prioritization (and gear optimization), either spec will be successful up to (and in some cases, including) Mythic raiding.
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