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…