Before continuing be aware of the following disclaimers:
I am not a 14/14H raider. Our group is still pushing normal progression so bear that in mind when I discuss available gear and the fights I'm planning for.
Secondly I'm not a master theorycrafter. I understand many of the basic concepts behind gearing and playing my class but if I attempt to dig too deep into the mathy parts there will be mistakes. Corrections are always welcome as are opinions.
Over the past week I have fallen in love with Holy healing and as such would like to integrate it more into our Siege attempts. That said I need a strategy for determining which spec to be in.
Disc has a nice damage boosting curve giving roughly 2.4M DPM on the low end and up to around 6M DPM on the higher end. While this is below the acceptable range for a pure damage dealer it is significant enough in fights with tight enrages, many adds, or areas where a few million extra damage could mean avoiding a phase. With Holy having a higher efficiency and more controlled healing feel it works better on fights where either damage is not a concern but healing is or the need for higher healing throughput trumps the added damage from disc. Having said this one of the reasons disc has seen such a large amount of spotlight uptime is because of the nature of smart heals and atonement spamming. The problem is this is simply lazy and feels more like playing a mage than a healer.
Ok so fights which are a DPS race either to avoid an enrage or a second punishing phase or have a multitude of adds will benefit most from Disc. Otherwise Holy will more than likely win out.
Also note that because I have to use an LFR piece to acquire the 4p bonus I will not be gearing around having it available unless the fight specifically calls for the added healing power of PW: Sanc.
My current plan to setup four gear sets to handle each specs needs.
- A general setup that can quickly switch cloaks for disc or Holy
- A high DPS disc set
- A set for Holy 4p
- A high regen set for heavy dispelling (basically this just means extra spirit for FP)
Immerseus has a low DPS requirement and casual enrage plus a need for fast healing of puddles. Holy seems best here without a need for the 4p as the puddles are not healed by PW: San. If DPS looks light Chastise can be utilized during the initial splits until the condensed phase is below the switch time (roughly 1 minute from reforming to reforming). Otherwise Serenity and a Halo seem to afford the best heals on the puddles. I'm thinking either renew, flash, flash, greater, PW: Seren, or save the GCD and just flash, flash, greater. I'm still experimenting with the best time to drop Halo, if you can hit a large group early and slow them then you have higher uptime on flash, flash, greater. General Holy with Halo.
Fallen Protectors, while this fight does include a large amount of adds the damage needed to overcome the fight is fairly low. What is needed however is a large pool of mana dedicated to the various and nonstop dispells that SW: Bane requires. Sun's collapse phase is a good candidate for HW: Sanc though the time spent is too low to swap stats for the 4p. As for the spread out phases my feeling is that if raiders are able to control their incoming damage C:Serenity would be most useful. Using renews and HW: Seren to spot heal and F:F:GH for more direct damage control. Halo on CD or holding for the exit of phase 2 is probably not a bad idea either. So this is a high regen fight for Holy with Halo.
Norushen is a DPS race. High DPS Disc plus divine star. DONE!
Sha of Pride really could go either way. Earlier on when gear was more of a limiting factor and our play was not as controlled disc was almost mandatory in order to meet the enrage but now I almost feel that I could go Holy for the fight...except for the fact that the tanks are at the end of our healing leash and disc works really well here. Honestly I just think this fight would be more fun in disc spec. So general disc with divine star.
Galakras. This fight is broken into two separate phases that honestly would benefit from being able to swap specs. Disc for the add heavy and tower portions and then Holy Sanc for the collapse portion with Galakras. Since spec swapping isn't possible we have to ask which phase would do better with the unwanted spec? I want to try Holy Chastise for the opening and then switch to Holy Sanc for the collapse phase with it's heavy heavy damage output. I'll want to insure that my mana is topped off right before we pull the big bird down then go into a heavy Bind, Bind, PoH rotation with CoH and PW: Sanc on CD. This is a fight that would benefit from the 4p in phase 2 and if I had a Flex or higher 4th piece I would go that route but for now I think I'll try the fight with the General Holy set, Divine Star, and my spirit trinkets.
Iron Juggernaut. Thinking about it this fight is similar to Malkorok but without the weird shield gimmick. Because of this I'm going to use a similar strategy and go 4p Holy, Halo for the fight. I'll be staying in C:Sanc and dumping a 3 stack PW: Sanc on the tank spot and the collapse spot on CD.
Dark Shaman have a soft enrage that is punishing enough without trying to play around. Disc all the way though I'll be forgoing the full DPS setup in favor of a bit more healing to smooth out raid errors. This fight sucks to be sure. Halo is probably the most handy when the arena gets crowded and players are spread to all corners of the earth.
Genral Nazgrim is an add heavy fight with a decent enrage. While not exactly a DPS race...it is sort of a DPS sprint, then stop, sprint, then stop. Disc is preferred to assist with add dispatching though the use of the pure DPS set is probably not warranted. General disc, Halo (requires controlled use).
Malkorok is a punishing healing test that benefits greatly from the 4p output. This is the fight Holy has wet dreams about. C: Sanc, 4p, Halo. Lots of bind, bind, PoH and CoH on CD to maintain 3 stack for dropping PW San.
Spoils of Pandaria another add heavy fight with a smattering of dispels. A bit more regen is helpful here and this is one you will want to watch your rapture timer on. Because of the spirit issues the General set comes out ahead. It's a toss up between Halo and Divine Star, will most likely depend on how well your team stacks or spreads. This is our newest progression fight and as such will be getting special treatment from gearing. Although we did go to 3% last time so maybe not as tight as initially thought.
While out on a run I was thinking about the 4p set and the Regen set and whether both were actually needed or if one could cover for the other. The limited use of the 4p set and a single use of the regen set indicates that this may be the way to go. It would also allow me to justify 4p on FP and Galak.
Ok so let's discuss gearing for just a moment.
Spirit is a regen stat and so long as you are efficient with your healing you can actually get away with a lot less spirit than you think you can. That said fights that require a large amount of dispelling will drain you fast. There are multiple solutions however. For one thing you can push your healers and all raiders to be more proactive and more self sufficient when it comes to dispels. And this may well be something I push. Refusing to drop Mass Dispel if raiders don't stack is a good place to start.
Mastery. For disc mastery increases shield strength and boosts healing while Holy acquires a HoT like component from each of its heals. Mastery is a good stat for either spec though a bit stronger for Holy.
Crit is the go to for atonement healers as it helps convert smart healing into smart shielding. This allows you to spend more time in DPS rotation coming out for a round of Spirit Shell here and there. For Holy crit is a semi-reliable throughput increase. The more crit the more reliable it becomes giving you essentially double the healing for half the mana.
Haste is a double edged sword. While it does decrease cast time making your healing more responsive and snappy if you are an inefficient healer to begin with the added haste will become a draining mechanism on your limited mana pool. The common thought for Disc has been to skip over haste in favor of mastery and crit for the most part but I'm beginning to feel that for a DPS disc build at least perhaps haste has a role. For Holy it comes down to efficiency and control. As you begin to master these concepts and understand that the haste isn't there to allow you pump out spam healing but instead to make your carefully chosen spells more reactive then I can see haste becoming more appealing without a change to spirit.
The question of haste break points comes to mind here. A fuller understanding of HBPs can be found in Hamlet's article on the subject but for our purposes we aren't too concerned with renew plateaus and will be looking more at cast time and then either moving up or down to the closest PW:Sanc and Holy Fire points.
In any case Int is the little golden child of all spell casting as the added spell power and crit have no equal. The main issue here becomes at what point do the secondary stats become twice as valuable as adding in more Int? This is an issue for gemming as well for choosing a piece with twice as much of a valuable secondary stat difference as an Int difference.
This is an area of theorycrafting I am still new to so for now I'm playing it by ear and erring on the side of more Int.
So as to sets my general set will utilize most of my Ordos gear with the healing cloak for Holy and the DPS cloak for Disc. The 2p will come from the chest and gloves. Spirit will be set around 10k-ish as I'm still a bit insecure going below that with crit, mastery, and haste roughly equal and setting haste to the closest point that is a HBP for either set.
The 4p set will replace the pants and shoulders leaving most everything else in tact. I'll see what that does for spirit and all of that with the hope that crit and mastery will look good and haste can be set around a HW: Sanc break point.
The DPS set has a few replacements to make which will take some time to adjust and get right (ie I need to see my bags which I can't do from work). I'll be emphasizing haste until it feels right and then adjusting for the nearest Holy Fire break point and then pushing crit and finally mastery.
Disc DPS Talent Build 1 for multiple adds
Single Target Disc build
Holy Build For Aoe Healing
And single target Holy Build
The purify glyph is good if you have lots to dispel.
ToF over Power Infusion is all about ToF uptime so adds or spiky damage.
Desperate Prayer is good if you know you need to spike your health up at certain points.
FDCL is really nice with Holy and works well with Serendipity. Mindbender seems to return the most amount of mana for me while in Disc though others argue with consistent Holy Fire rotation Solace and Insanity is supposed to be good. The verdict is still out in humble opinion.