Tobold's Blog
Friday, February 13, 2009
Most important stat for priests

In my last raid I got the token for my T7 trousers, finally. That means that apart from one excellent jewelcrafting trinket, my complete gear is now epic (item level 200). Actually the trinket is item level 200 too, it just has a blue name. Anyway, while running around in full epic in Naxx-10 means I'm unlikely to get many further gear upgrades, I started to think more about whether I have the right gems and enchantments.

What I did was choose mostly gems and enchantments that add to my spirit. As a holy priest, spirit does add to my spellpower. But more importantly it adds to my mana regeneration. As I recently mentioned, I can't manage to run out of mana any more when soloing, and I last a very long time in a tough raid boss encounter. That is very much old school raid healing: During level 60 and 70 raids, a wipe occured when the healers ran out of mana. Thus mana regeneration was the most important stat, because the longer you could keep healing without running out of mana, the longer the whole raid survived.

But I'm wondering whether this is still current thinking for level 80 raid healers. Nowadays I very rarely see a fight last so long that I'm even getting close to running out of mana. Is spirit still the most important stat for holy priests? I could easily imagine to re-gem and enchant all my gear with +spellpower, which would raise my spellpower by about 200, but lower my mana regeneration per 5 seconds by over 300. So each of my spells would be more powerful, but I could cast less of them. Which in many cases in Naxx-10 wouldn't matter at all.

I'm a bit reluctant to switch, not because of the considerable cost (I have 3 prismatic gems alone, worth 200 gold each), but because I'm not quite sure whether I'd really be happier with spellpower. Because while I might not need all that mana regeneration, I'm not sure whether I really need more spellpower either. People very rarely die in our raids, and if they do it is because they weren't healed fast enough, not because the healing spells were too weak. Plus in patch 3.1 the way mana regeneration works supposedly is nerfed, so I might be changing right back again.

So I'd love to hear from other healing priests: What are the most important stats for you? Do you go for spirit, spellpower, intellect, something else? How high do you think spellpower and mp5 should be (buffed) for a healer?
I've come to the same conclusion myself regarding going OOM. It really never happens, now that I actually have a handle on playing my class. I'm even tempted to move talent points around as a result too, that lower the cost of certain spells or provide more regen.

When they make these changes, or maybe in Ulduar, it might become an issue again, but for now my priest never OOMs, and my warlock has mana on tap. Literally. ;)

I'll keep an eye on this thread when the veteran priests post. I'm curious.
So I'd love to hear from other healing priests: What are the most important stats for you? Do you go for spirit, spellpower, intellect, something else? How high do you think spellpower and mp5 should be (buffed) for a healer?

Well I'm a healing priest, but Discipline, so my stat priorities are a little different than yours. Intellect ranks above all else, then crit and spellpower tied for second in importance. Then haste. Then MP5 and finally, spirit and stamina tied for last. My buffed stats are 22K mana, 30% holy crit, 1950 spellpower, 9.5% haste, and 230 MP5 while casting. I may actually begin asking our raid's paladin to stop blessing me with Wisdom and start using Kings instead, which would put me around 24K mana/140 MP5. I still run out of mana when soloing as the Discipline regen talent (Rapture) is linked to heals and shields only.

I do have that same dilemma you face, regen vs. spellpower, the only difference is that my regen stat is Intellect, not MP5/Spirit. I've been cutting spellpower in favor of intellect for some time (I re-gemmed all yellow sockets for Autumn's Glow +16 int instead of Monarch Topaz +9spell/+8 int, for starters) but I might be taking it a bit too far. The newest decision to make is whether to keep using my Titansteel Guardian or switch to the Infection Repulser I got in Naxx10 off Grobbulus the other day. An extra 37 intellect and 1.2% haste at the cost of -49 spellpower and -.2% crit... right now I switch back and forth situationally which is annoying to have to think about all the time.

Congrats on the T7 legs, Tobold. I've been stuck on my two final blues (head and legs) for over a month now. I wonder if more Emblem of Heroism gear will get patched in some day, I'm all out of things to spend them on!

Packetloss - Gorefiend(US) - PvP
I am specced holy and my sockets are all crit. Reason is simple: I rarely use greater heal, so my flashheals crit, my POM crits or my group heals crit and my proc for freecasts goes off nearly all the time ... saving mana as well.

I got 2k spellpower, you don't need more in my opinion.
I struggled with mana when we started raiding Wrath content (and valued that very same trinket) but as we've geared up and gotten better at killing bosses I rarely have mana problems anymore. I've always collected gear for multiple situations and so I've simply transitioned to using my haste and throughput sets in more and more bossfights, to the point where I currently do all content in what I call my haste set.

The coming changes to mana regen will probably mean that I have to go back to a more balanced gearset at least for some fights and I've been maintaining that as well, keeping it gemmed and enchanted with regen stats. My guild has a nice loot policy that allows me to pick up alternate gear that no one wants and I've been using that to pick up the regen focused items that include mp5 and spirit.

At this point I'd reccommend taking a wait and see attitude until the patch has been on PTR for a bit and we see what direction Blizzard is going. If your guild's loot system allows you to pick up alternate gear with little penalty to priority or at little DKP cost, think about regen oriented gear sets for the long fights and throughput oriented sets for trash and short fights. Once we see where Blizzard is going with regen you can fine-tune your gems and enchants for the stats that matter.

Best stat? Again, I think it is situational. Spellpower adds both throuput and effeciency. I don't think that any value is ever enough but I don't go much out of my way to stack it. Crit has some nice synergy with talents and adds mitigation through Inspiration. I seem to like Haste more than most holy priests. Haste is a pure throughput improvement, there's no efficiency to be gained with it but I love the fast heals. I value Int/Spirit about equally and on my regen focused gear I like to stack both. MP5 doesn't benefit from Blessing of Kings so I don't actively go out of my way to get it but several pieces of my gear have some on it.
Are you overhealing a lot on boss fights? If so, then more +spellpower isn't going to help you much. If you aren't overhealing, then start dumping the mana regen for spell power. Just do it in increments, like just gemming the Red sockets with the +spellpower at first. You might find the right mix is more like 150 MP5.
I play Discipline, and with full epic gear, the idea of ever running low on mana is just laughable. I gemmed for int when I was first gearing up, and have recently been swapping for spellpower, crit and haste, aiming for reasonable balance of those three.

I can't remember for the life of me the last time anyone died because I ran out of mana. If people die, it's for lack of throughput or for my heals being too slow.
Stick with mp5. With Ulduar coming up you don't know what the situation will be concerning that and if Blizzard make a change to how the mana regeneration works you might be in a much better situation.

It sounds like you would only be side-grading yourself by adjusting the gems which is a waste of gold. As long as the raid is doing grand and you're pulling your weight then it's no problem. I would only consider going more spellpower/crit orientated if you feel it's required once Ulduar hits.

If you're really unsure then I would advise getting another holy tier set (either T7 or T7.5 depending what you have already), gem that out with +spellpower etc. like mentioned and try a few raids as that.
Int/Spellpower > Haste/Crit > Spirit > Mp5
Raid buffed I am around 450-500 Mp5, 2200-2300 Spellpower, 1100 Int and 950 Spirit.
25 mans are the focus of our guild and I have yet to run out of mana on a boss fight.
But I am still new to raid healing and the priority listing in the beginning is just more or less copied from the EJ forums, that's where I go when I need any kind of theorycrafting info :P
If you have the extra cash regem away but if not leave it alone. As was pointed out Mana regen is due for an overhaul in 3.1, from whats being said it's going ot be a rather sizable nerf.
Like others have said, it's probably better to save the resources and wait until 3.1 to see what you need. If your gear is fine right now, no matter what it focuses on, then you do your raid a better service by being able to adapt quickly come patch time.

In terms of stats themselves, as with most any healer, a balance is optimal. Int and Spirit should sit at about a 1:1 ratio, since that provides the best item-level value in terms of regen. I think most holy priests, correctly, error on the side of Spirit. However, that may change with the nerf to Spirit regen coming in 3.1, especially since Int still gives fantastic regen from Replenishment, Mana Tide Totem, Shadowfiend, and other max mana regen mechanics. At this point, it's just to early to tell. Otherwise, you'll want to get at or over 2000 spellpower, and then you'll want to make sure you have decent amounts of crit and haste. I've seen lots of numbers tossed around for those, but 20% crit and 10% haste (self-buffed) are good ballpark ranges. My priest, for example, runs in a mix of heroic and raid gear and currently has 19% crit (with the 5% Holy Spec) and 8% haste (not counting the 5% from Enlightenment).
> People very rarely die in our raids, and if they do it is because
> they weren't healed fast enough, not because the healing spells
> were too weak.

This statement seems to indicate haste would be a beneficial stat
to switch some of your spirit into.
For a holy priest your spi/int ratio should be around 1.1/1 for max regen. Spellpower comes next then crit should be around 15-20%. Haste is overrated, take it as it comes but not in favor of other stats.
If your raiding then shift those points out of spirit tap.
For the record: My current stats when I'm only self-buffed, that is no consumables or raid buffs from other classes:
Spirit: 970
Intellect: 923
Spellpower: 1987
MP5: 928 out of combat, 353 while casting
Haste: 257
Crit: 15.8% (holy)
Hit: 0
with full raid buffs, flasks, food, etc.:
Spirit: 1229
Intellect: 1137
Spellpower: 2229
MP%: 1371 out of combat, 561 while casting
Haste: 257
Crit: 22.2% (holy)
Hit: 0
I won't answer your post directly Tobold, since I'm a Disc priest and as others have said the focus there is very different from that of a Holy priest.

That said, I'd like to point you in the direction of PlusHeal, a great place for healers to ask questions and get answers.

I'd also like to make a few points:

1. Ulduar is a looong way off and still under development. Decide on your changes now, make em and play happily for the next 2 months. Don't spec/gem/gear for a content patch that's at least 2 months away and contains unknown changes for our class. Don't hold off on those changes either because of that patch.

2. In terms of gear, ask any serious raider and you will get to the same answer - you need different gear for different fights. This is true for tanks, healers and DPS, for different reasons and for different fights. But it is true for all players. Personally, I keep a few mana regen pieces (losing some crit/spell-power) as an optional partial set (saved in Outfitter) for longer fights such as Sapphiron or raids where for some reason mana regen is lower.

3. Mana regen in 25man raids is considerably higher than in 10man raids. Make sure to clarify which type you raid when you post your question at PusHeal.

Best of luck :)
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