On the folly of gearing for A while aiming for B

28 September 2009 § 1 Comment

December 2008: the 10 people I want to raid with are all finally 80, so we can start doing Naxxramas. Turns out that we have two priest healers in the group, so I offer to go Disc and try it out, to give us some more variety. I try it out, I love it, we realize that it does synergise well with Holy, and so I stick with it. My next step was obviously to look around for sources of theorycrafting. After a bit of research (I think I made my sources clear in the last post), I came out with my own personal take on stat weights, with Intellect being clearly the stat to choose.

In the following 6 months, I tweaked a few things, mostly increasing the importance I accorded to spirit after reading a very nice post by Zusterke over at World of Snarkcraft. I also kept adjusting the relative weight of haste and crit, to get the perfect balance between the two.

By the time we got to Trial of the Grand Crusader, I was pretty happy with my stats and my gear. Then, a random remark by a friend made me realise something: when was the last time I used a mana potion? Even worse, when was the last time I used my Shadowfiend, or even my Hymn of Hope? Sometimes I did use the latter, but if I had to be honest, it was more to give a little bit of mana to my raidmates than for a real need for it myself.

Could I have *gasp* too much mana regen?

I think you’d have to have been a healer in Molten Core back in 2005 to appreciate the absurdity of that statement. Back then, we had healing rotation, crappy regen talent, no mp5 on gear except very select pieces (hello Mindtap Talisman!), so mana was a HUGE concern. That experience probably imprinted me more than I realised, and I’ve always geared more towards longevity rather than burst. This predilection served me well throughout BC, which had monstrously long fights (10 mins Illidari Council…), and where the healing style was spamming Circle of Healing, which was hardly the most mana efficient spell.

The problem is, the game has changed – a lot. It’s even changed since the launch of Wrath, arguably more than in any other “normal” (i.e. non-expansion) other time before. And I was still sticking to ingrained habits learned in 2005 as a priest wearing the Devout set.

What a noob.

Just around the same time I was having my doubts, I happened to read this post by Paolo, over at Penance Priest – and realised he was absolutely right. By focusing too much on regen, I had gimped myself and reduced my effectiveness, while essentially gaining nothing because I was not really in need of any more longevity. So, now, I’m ignoring Intellect and Spirit, focusing mostly on Spellpower and Crit. Haste is something that I will consider nice to have, but not gear for specifically. I’m also on the verge of changing my metagem, from an  Insightful Earthsiege Diamond to a Revitalizing Skyflare or Beaming Earthsiege (the only thing stopping me is that both of those also have a regen effect which I don’t like – mp5 and more mana).

Have I seen some results? Well, I can certainly tell you that I’m using my Shadowfiend more, but I don’t necessarily have more mana issues than that. On paper, my mana pool hasn’t gone down that much, and my crit has gone from 20 to 30%. It’s difficult to say whether there is a change in healing effectiveness though. As we all know, comparing healing performance is something that you cannot really do. It feels better, and I certainly see more divine aegis going around – so I guess that will have to do for now. Until Blizzard changes the game again, that is…

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