First run at BG priest

That’s the link to my current talent choices. Yep, Disc heavy with a wee bit of holy. Let me back up and discuss just a little bit what my experience and thoughts are.

I am not real good at PVP – I’m “slow twitch”. I’m a thinker and a plodder. On the other hand I have learned tricks and techniques to beat this problem in other places. Basically, I work out every scenario I can think of, build a short list of “oh crap” moves and a longer list of ‘low pressure’ moves, and practice them till they’re pretty well locked. That, by the way, is why I’ve got a fair grasp of macros. Experience has taught me there is no one right answer, but getting down to three or four (or fewer) choices makes it more likely to have A right answer to hand.

So, priest in PVP – BGs, not arena. Starting out, which means next to nothing for honor or anything else. On the other hand, geared to run into SSC. It’s not high-end arena stuff, but it beats straight greens.

When running with premades way back when, I learned that rule one is communication. When communication is absent, rely on rule two but expect to lose. Rule two is do YOUR job to the best of your ability. My job as a heal-priest is simple — keep key people alive.

Who is key people? Broadly it’s anyone in range – and THAT is quite a trick in its own self. But beyond that, the number one target for heals should be the player who has collected the most enemy attention. It’s a tank principle, folks – threat is no longer a numbers game, it’s a “reality” issue. The enemy is going to pick their target based on who THEY think is the most threatening target. Given time to think they’ll be smarter and go for me — easy meat and a force multiplier if left alone. Thus I need to pick someone in the middle of the pack for primary heals. And perhaps as critical, I need to avoid being a glass healer – I need to have a build that can take a bit more damage than a ‘normal’ clothie.

Rule three is avoid being the target. Now here’s a really odd thing in WoW, different from reality. Movement at a distance is more likely to be noticed. But once battle’s engaged, it’s the STATIONARY target that’s more likely to get attention. General application of the rule, then, is that unless you’ve got terrain, once battle is joined speed is life. The consequence of this rule is that long-cast spells are usually not going to happen. More than 2 seconds is attention drawing. Less than 1 second is pretty much unnoticed. So the MAJORITY of my heals need to be instants and ‘fast’ (flash, etc.) I expect to almost never get away with a greater heal even if I do speed it up to 3 seconds. This isn’t completely never, just… rare.

On to talent selection. Let me start with a simple reality – this first pass was copied almost completely from a successful PVP player. I’ll come back to that in a bit – keep it in mind.

There are a few “Oh, dear goo I want that” talents for priestly PVP. And as always, I can’t have all. I looked really, really hard at silence. 21 points in the shadow tree. And that makes Blackout and Improved Shadow Word: Pain and Mind Flay available – have to spend points at those levels anyway. I might.

In the holy tree, Blessed Resilience is high. 33 points to get 3/3. At that point it’s another so-what sorta thing unless you’re going Holy heavy. However, even if you’re – I’M – not going holy heavy there’s a lower talent that’s extremely useful for PVP. Blessed Recovery – take a crit, and recover 25% of the damage over the next 6 seconds. Yes, holy has its temptations and good options for BG-PVP.

That said, Disc is the traditional PVP tree. Not least is the top of the chain — Pain Suppression. Who cares about “aggro” threat (-5%), it’s a 40% damage mitigation AND 65% counter to dispel effects. (trying to strip my buffs? heh). And Stamina boosters and Mana boosters and… yep, lots of good stuff.

So, I looked at two decently ranked PVP players, realized I preferred healer to DPS, and took the tree you see above. And then I went into a pair of BGs. A pair of Arathi Basins to be precise. The first – I really didn’t learn anything. Lucked into coming with a group that was about half pre-made, and we 5-capped early. It was the second that I considered useful – and yes, we lost. For a while it wasn’t certain, then the Horde (apparently) started communicating and they got and held a 4 cap. But it took a LONG time. Still, it’s worth noting things from my point of view.

My small group swept through the lumber mill with no interference and got to the farm. At that point there were three of us pretty much all the time, with various alliance joining as well. We were outnumbered up to 3:1 at one point, but more typically it ran about 1.5:1.

Generally, I ran into the brush just south of the flag. My Shaman and Paladin stayed close to the flag and took on the horde. I healed… lots and lots and lots. Oddly, the only players to notice me – consistently – were a pair of warlocks. It’s hilarious to see three rows of dots and then get feared. But whenever that happened – that I started running in terror – one of the two melee types would hit the warlock and I’d be out just an instant or two later. I’d psychic scream the pet, slap some heals on myself to get through the dots (and I’m going to note now that I survived pretty much most of the time from those), and get back into the area with some fast heals. I eventually became the pet target of an undead rogue — and THAT was the end of me. sap/stunlock/killkillkill – and if I got a breather the psychic scream was no more than a fast click (either he was fast or he had an auto-assist of some sort) and he was right back on me. Sigh. My pride in that part of it is that it took a LOT to kill me. Seriously, I can recall dieing to two- or three-shots from rogues, and even a single. For him to have to take a full 10-15 seconds was phenomenal. Why? Because I have counter-crit talents, and a decent amount of stamina, and always kept my inner fire up – not to mention after the first time my “short breath” cast became Renew instead of Scream.

What did I NOT do that I need to practice?

I forgot I had pain suppression – never had it before, didn’t hot button in any fashion. I never cast it.

I failed to frisbee. Idiot.

I need to rearrange my spells and macros on my bars and in my keybindings — I’ve still got too many arranged for deliberate raiding instead of roiling chaos. This includes some damage spells – if nothing else, SW:P and SW:D.

I need to ponder anew whether I want to use my wand in this. Advantage – more damage for no mana. Disadvantage – tracer effect. (One of the Murphy Rules of Combat – tracers show everyone where the shooter is.) While I’m at it, I need to consider whether to change wand. The one I’m using does shadow damage. I have noticed that shadow is the first choice for resistance — shadowpriests and warlocks make it most likely to be useful.

So… only two battles and LOTS of lessons learned. Ready for the fun thing?

I’m tempted not to tay this spec. That’s because in the post-battle analysis I had an epiphany.

CoH is made for battlegrounds.

The problem, of course, is that I sacrifice mana and stamina and spirit. Of the three, stamina concerns me the most. Oh, sure, I sacrifice improved mana burn – but while I THOUGHT of using it the opportunity didn’t really exist.

I’ll continue to try this spec for a while, but am certain I’ll modify it. Since I AM doing BG, the CoH heal… tempts, a lot. And if I continue to forget to use my Pain Suppression (sigh) — or decide after use that it’s not being THAT useful — then I may go exactly that way. But the BIG reason I expect to change is simple – I’m learning. And experience has taught me that common wisdom gets some things wrong. And even more important, common wisdom isn’t MY fun. Yep, want to win. But my role in a BG is going to be simple:

Heal the guys and gals who have grabbed the attention of the bad guys so they stay off me. And if I DO get the bad guys attention, stay alive long enough for my new friends to greet the rude intruders in an appropriate fashion.

BG is not Arena. But it is, I think, a great method to start developing the habits needed.

Lots of I think comments above because I’ve got quite the learning curve ahead of me. I’ll keep you all informed, but in the meantime…

Have fun.


~ by Kirk on February 6, 2008.

6 Responses to “First run at BG priest”

  1. TIP: Find the biggest baddest warrior in the BG and heal him like you’ve never healed before… If he is smart and goes for the enemy cloth (particularly healers) then he’ll draw attention like a magnet. I played a warrior in BGs quite a bit and I can tell you whenever I charged the healer, I got a boatload of people coming at me. Couple of heals and with my high stamina/armor, I would just cut through everyone.

    Part of the reason is that a warriors mechanic is based on rage. The more damage we soak, the more damage we deal. The downside is that we can’t heal ourselves. Keep us alive and if we are targeting the right stuff and draw the most of the attention, we have unlimited rage and can unleash hell upon our mutual enemies.

    You also need a warrior that is smart enough to be watching your back and when the attention shifts from him (who can’t be killed) to you, is able to intercept/intervene on your behalf and keep you alive.

    Most of your strategy is right on, but when push comes to shove and you need to decide “who to heal”.. heal the warrior. If he’s taking heavy damage, chances are he has a full rage bar and can put it to good use.

  2. The only questions I’d have about your build are:
    * Why 1/2 Martydom? 2/2 Martydom is excellent, especially as you gear up.
    * Why Enlightenment? It’s a middle of the road talent and, for being so deep, it’s not really that great. I’d imagine it’s because you currently lack the stamina to survive a rogue.

    My opinion on Blessed Recovery is that, if you have the talents to spare, it’s nice. It does help you survive against rogues (after you survive the initial ambush).

    Some say Discipline starts to shine at 300 resilience, but I noticed a huge survivability jump at 200 resilience against (the then popular) hemo rogues, while keeping the almost same survivability against other classes.

  3. You may be a little disappointed with CoH in pvp. I used to run with that and thought it was nice, but it ends up not being so great. You are better off staying with a big Disc build. That plus Res gear will make your life so, so much better. I found that I was just dieing way to fast in pvp with the deep holy builds, and that was coming from the lack of survival talents that exist in the Disc tree. And you do no one any good if you die in 5 seconds.

    PoM is huge in pvp, don’t forget it next time 🙂

    I’ve been thinking of tossing 5 points into Blackout just to see if I can get it to proc and give me some time to get away. Dunno how it would work practically though.

    ( and yeah, if you can come up with a cure for a mace rogue, let me know. lol )

  4. @Sid67 – I agree, with two caveats. If the warrior I find isn’t “big and bad”, I’m probably better off with a big, bad, other-melee. The warrior I started to follow last night was woefully undergeared – greens only, some of which were mid-60s. The mostly-blue shaman and mostly-blue paladin were just plain a better choice.

    @Ravageclaw – why 1/2 Martyrdom? First, because it’s what the models I was using had. And as frequently as I was seeing crits from rogues, it really didn’t seem to matter about being “only” 50%.

    Enlightenment? No, not just stamina (though that’s part of it). +10% spirit is more healing and spelldamage and mana maintenance. In BG the latter doesn’t seem to be as critical, but the +heal on renew? Priceless. I expect to be keeping it for a while.

    @Hildi – thanks for the input. I did see the potential downside of losing the Disc health and resistance. heh – POM is an “always” in PVE, no idea why I was forgetting it last night.

    And 10% on a cast SW:P (only procs on shadow spells, only on cast not damage tics) doesn’t seem worth 5 points.

    Oh – yeah, I expect I’ll spend a LOT of time wondering about rogue cures. The best cure, of course, is the one Sid mentioned – a warrior working with you.

  5. My guess is that your priest is Human. 😛 Then the 10% spirit makes sense.

    The positive part of Enlightenment is that it can’t be dispelled, as opposed to Divine Spirit or Power Word: Fortitude.

    Also, keep in mind that the increase in +heal will diminish as you get more PvP gear.

  6. Guess I’ll leave a bluster of comments as I work my way forward; ‘pologies if I repeat anything already in the comments or already learned lessons.

    With you on communication as the number one rule; as another poster notes, it’s worth binding ‘help at xx’ macros for all BGs.

    Anyway, in order:

    Spec –
    I’ve not specced full bg yet at 70 (still grinding out my 70 quests) but based on earlier experience, Reflective shield is a _lot_ of points for what is not a huge gain. You’re trying to survive, not do damage, and the reflective shield does not deal enough damage to make it worthwhile. If it was 100%, maybe, otherwise, IMO, meh. (dunno what your gear is like, but ask yourself: how many times do I have to cast sw:P to match its damage output?) That 5 points make gheal and a couple of your offensive spells more viable. Once you get used to the rhythm of BGs, my last comment notwithstanding, there’s more opportunities to gheal than you think. Likewise, Spell warding. I await your wws analysis, but my sense is that in general I don’t take massive spell damage – I’m 30 yards back from melee, enemy spellcasters are 30 yards back from melee- I don’t bother them & they don’t bother me. I’d rather have the points in Holy Specialization. Granted, my grinding gear is crit based, so even with pvp substitutions, my crit is higher than average (i guess; 10-15% with talents) but you do know that every time you drop a heal crit, an undead rogue cries, right? And we all want that.

    Yep, we have the least to fear from them. It was something of an epiphany for me when I realised one renew would more or less keep up with the dot damage. The pets are a nuisance – but fearable. Try dragging the pet next to the warlock for the fear; works surprisingly well (also good for hunters, but lacks the comedy taste-own-medicine angle). The fear is only a pain when it takes you out of heal range: otherwise, it’s a quiet moment to check people’s health and watch renew tick. The only problem warlocks really pose is the serious drain tanking model – you are a health and mana battery for those fecks.

    Rogues (undead)
    welcome to bg at the pointy (or slicey, or blunt) end -.- If you’re paper, other people are rock, these people are the omg imba chainsaw. In reverse order of preference:

    5) trinket. starshards. pws. fear. mindblast. If you’re lucky, you might scare him into cloak of shadows for 15 seconds.
    4) Heal like crazy, thank god for your damage mitigation, and accept that for 15 seconds you’re a kind of freezing trap.
    3) make friends with a druid or mage. watch the sheep or the roots, tiptoe away, laugh.
    2) make friends with a warrior. Bind an aargh arrgh help macro. Watch the new asshole appear. laugh.
    1) Implement a bg-wide cross faction rental scheme where they have to pay for the intimate spaces they seem to so enjoy.

    frisbee. yep, use it use it use it. I was briefly swayed by your later tactical not using it argument… but nah. Get to improved death in the holy tree and enjoy more or less uninterrupted healing.

    Don’t underestimate binding heal. still teaching myself to use it, but good bg applications.

    Do NOT unbind SW:P. Invaluable.

    Wand: Of most use in AB. Minimal damage, but dots won’t break a flag cap. DD – including wands – will. If all else fails, if you’re alone against 10 horde, wand the flag capper and set them back by 10s. It might matter.

    Nah. I’ve been chasing the elusive power-infused inner-focused prayer of healing 5-player crit for a long time now. It would be easier if BG pugs organised themselves into neat little groups where the mana:heal ratio would make it worthwhile. I’ve been waiting a long time now, and COH is not, essentially, different.

    BG is not arena. Yes, it trains skills, but it is a separate field of endeavour. Only Blizz’s gear mechanics make one a feed in for the other; it could, just as well, work the other way.

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