In this part I will speak about spells used, order of importance, hitpoints, and some about UI.
All healer classes have a multitude of spells nowadays to be able to react to different situations. As a discipline priest you can pretty much count on the following things to be true:
- Does your target have Weakened Soul? No? You're doing it wrong.
- Penance on cooldown? No? You're doing it wrong.
- PoM on cooldown? No? You're doing it wrong.
- Only when those 3 are down can you go to flash heal, greater heal, prayer of healing, or other spells that the situation requires. There are very, very few situations where you don't cast in that order of importancy.
The second should be the damage you're expecting your target to take. If your target is going to take only 5k damage there is no need to spin up a full PWS, Penance and PoM cycle. Only a shield will do, and then you move on to your next target.
How Much Healing?
You should roughly know how much hitpoints every person in your raid has, and from your assigned targets (be it tank or not) you should know fairly precisely.
You should also know how much damage can be expected. How hard does that boss hit on your target? Fusion Punch? Make sure to time your heals correctly, big damage. Overhead smash? You know many people will take damage, spin up a prayer of healing so that is ready to land when the damage arrives. You know it will be needed, so you need to make sure it's ready on time.
Know also when you can switch off to save a different target, and when to stay on the tank. I've had situations when I let a dps die on purpose because I could not heal both the dps and the tank, and keeping the tank up was a make or break for the fight.
I use grid + clique. Don't let anybody tell you that click healing is bad. It is not. People can say that keybindings are faster, sure, for them. But you need to find your comfortable combination of healing. I have some abilities on keybinds, but most of them are under some sort of button-mouse combination.
However, for all of these types of healing it is important to know exactly where every spells is. You should be able to close your eyes, and without looking cast exactly the right heals.
When I started with this I had Thrornir with me, and while I had my spellbars cleaned away (if you use a barmod, just hide them) I had him call out heals, and me casting them in the order he called them out. This needs to be absolutely spotless. You simply don't have time to find your buttons in fight.
The other massive advantage this has is that you can keep your UI a lot cleaner. You won't need as many abilities on your hotbars because they will be under keybinds or clique combinations. Eventually with enough practice you will even get a complete feel for when your spells are off cooldown again. Your built-in timer will tell you.
In my opinion your UI should be as clean as possible while in combat. Because after all, you as a healer also need to get out of fires, and whatever the fight throws at you. If you have a cluttered UI you won't be able to see what is happening around you.
Oh, I know according to some you need to follow many many things. Your regen, your latency, your cast time, your buffs, everybody else's buffs, etc.
I don't. If I have mana I cast, if I don't have mana I will use some ability to get mana, and then I cast.
To keep your UI as clean as possible, you can use Power Auras to warn you for timers of trinkets or spells, that way you won't see those either until you have to.
Visual cues are very deceptive. The more you have on your screen the harder it is to distinguish the ones you really need to be able to see. So make sure that you have as few visual cues as possible at any given time.
Some Practical Tips:
- Penance does not consume Borrowed Time, yet does benefit from it.
- PW:S gives 3% damage reduction to your ENTIRE raid.
- Divine Aegis and Inspiration can proc of the healing of the PW:S glyph.
- More crit means more Divine Aegis and more Inspiration.
- Both MP5 and INT will return more mana for you than Spirit.
- Do not go for gear with haste, Borrowed Time and Enlightenment will give you most of what you need, and you won't be able to avoid all haste on gear anyways so your 1 sec global cooldown is easily reached.
- Don't wait to use cooldowns like Power Infusion, Divine Hymn, or Pain Suppression. You could be waiting for that perfect moment forever...or until everybody is dead on the floor. (Do communicate to your when you use them).
Next time it will be the last part, and I will reveal the true secret about healing, but to keep you busy until then, check out the following links.They are links that I've found very helpful, but with everything you read keep your own healing style in the back of your mind.