Monday, March 30, 2009

Discipline Priest: 3.1 Rapture Thoughts

Raise your hand if you've ever played a Disc Priest.

Keep those hands raised if you've ever played a Disc Priest in a WotLK raid.


Now, keep those hands up if you've ever run oom as a Disc Priest in a WotLK raid.

What? None of you?

Frankly, I'm not surprised.

As Disc, as long as I'm throwing around shields and landing some big crits without much overheal, I'm hard pressed to drop below half mana, even if I'm using every GCD for Penance, Flash Heal, PW:S, and Prayer of Mending. It sounds crazy to say this, but I really have to play incredibly poorly to run out of mana: Not watching incoming heals, using PW:S on targets unlikely to take damage, not using casted heals... the list goes on and on. But since I do pay reasonable attention to what I'm doing, mana isn't ever an issue.

All thanks to Rapture.

Current Rapture (5/5): Causes you to gain up to 0.5/1.0/1.5/2/0/2.5% of your maximum mana each time you heal with Greater Heal, Flash Heal or Penance, or damage is absorbed by your Power Word: Shield or Divine Aegis. Increasing the amount healed or Absorbed increases the Mana gained.

Don't get too used to this version of Rapture, because it's about to be completely overhauled.

Future Rapture (3/3): When your Power Word: Shield is completely absorbed or dispelled, you are instantly energized with 1.5/2.0/2.5% of your total mana and you have a 33/66/100% chance to energize your shielded target with 2% total mana, 8 rage, 16 energy, or 32 runic power. This effect cannot occur more than once every 12 seconds.

Yeah, that's a pretty phenomenally huge nerf.

So why is it a nerf? Let's list the reasons

  • No more mana regen on casted heals
  • No more mana regen on Divine Aegis procs
  • Mana regen limited to 2.5% every 12 seconds
So, how does a Priest gain mana from the new Rapture? Two ways: 1) Refreshing a PW:S on yourself will 'dispel' the first PW:S, thus giving you mana back, and 2) Absorb incoming damage with a PW:S. Of course, since it's pretty hard to anticipate random damage, this would naturally lead to alot of self targeted shielding for no reason but to hope for some mana return.

Essentially, to be able to gain mana with the new Rapture, one must have a mana pool large enough so that 2.5% of the mana pool's value is greater than the cost of the PW:S. According to Elitist Jerks, one needs to have a mana pool > 21000 to have free self PW:S with all of the cost reduction talents. 21000 mana is pretty easy to get to while raid buffed, but even if one has 25k+ mana, are the mana gains from PW:S worth it? Honestly? Not really. Without Rapture working on Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Penance or Divine Aegis, the mana return is reasonably negligible and this talent may not even be worth the 3 talent points.

But what about its ability to give resources to others? Rage users who are rage starved, aren't getting hit, and as such, wouldn't have their PW:S fully absorbed. The rest of the resource users could feasibly benefit from this boost, but 2% mana, 16 energy, and 32 runic power isn't going to make or break a fight, even if that player gets multiple PW:S throughout the encounter. It's really a nice side effect to not dying.

So, what do I think about the new Rapture? I think it will be a great mechanism for PvP, due to the amount of active dispelling that occurs, but I think that for the purposes of PvE, the 3.1 version is absolute rubbish. It doesn't synergize with the Discipline tree and it encourages bad play: constant self application of PW:S for marginal mana gains. It's obvious that Disc needs some mana regen tweakage since they currently never run out of mana, but a complete gutting of this talent isn't the answer.

Of course, this means that Disc and Holy will soon have the same mana efficiency... which could prove to be interesting as some Deep Holy PvP specs could begin to shine.


zomg said...

I played a Disc priest for most of Wrath. I am absolutely disgusted at the Rapture change. I agree in that there really wasn't a reason to strip the talent to such a degree, and am currently at somewhat of a loss and considering not playing my priest. /shrug... I suppose we shall see what happens.

Chu said...

All the new talents and abilities in Disc (Soul Warding, Divine Aegis stacking, Glyph of Penance) would have made Disc throughput insanely good. Hence the nerf to Rapture.

Sucks, though. I loved the old version of Rapture.

Anonymous said...

Good for pvp mostly, it's pretty much killed our mana regen in pve, i've been disc or hybrid of some form since bc, and I've been healing in Ulduar, Priests of any spec in my group seem to be the only ones struggling with mana especailly with the demand to now aoe heal massively.

Chu said...


Definitely. Even in PvP, although the Penance change helps our efficiency, the fact that we're not getting mana from Penance or from buddy shields hurts in the long term if the matches go on past a couple of minutes.

Anonymous said...

To be honest, not really having problems conserving mana whatsoever, it's patch 3.3 now, and honestly I conserve mana just fine in PvE, there is a ver large thing you seem to forget, shadowfiend, shadowfiend will make your mana pool nearly 1/3 higher then it actually is, considering how much mana it gives back. Use Shadowfiend on EVERY boss fight when you begin to get right around 3-6k mana,it has a 5 min CD, and fi your raiding, generally takes about 2-4 to get it ready/explain the next boss fight. If you have trouble conserving mana, you may want to review the way you heal, and make sure you are not overhealing too much.