Dual Spec Ramblings

So I was pondering the coming wonder that is dual specs the other day, and frankly, I was really struggling with what to do.  Vess is a pve disc priest.  I like the spec, alot, maybe even a little too much.  So I fully intend to keep disc as my primary spec. 

Which leaves me with a decision to make for my off-spec.  I choose to see my options as the following:

  • PVP Disc;
  • PVE Holy;
  • PVP Holy;
  • PVE Shadow; or
  • PVP Shadow.

PVP Disc– As I have mentioned, I spent a decent amount of time as a battleground disc healer back in the days when disc didn’t have pew pew lazer heals, and you could priest tank 2-3 dps.  One competent healer in a battleground was often the difference between a win and a loss, and I enjoyed the ‘healing with reckless abandon’ mentality you need to be a pvp healer.  

But, I really haven’t done any pvp since Patch 3.0.2, when it became nearly impossible to heal anyone through the ridiculous burst damage that most dps were doing.  (This was also when disc priests got all their shiny new pve toys, and pvp viability was no longer the primary role for our spec.) 

Of all the pvp choices, disc would be the easiest for me to do, since I have experience with the spec, and my buttons really wouldn’t change.  I would just need to gear up (which shouldn’t be too hard being a JC/Tailor with Emblems of Heroism to spare) and familiarize myself with the new battlegrounds. 

PVE Holy– This is another really tempting option.  No other class in the game has two healing specs.  A priest who goes pve disc/pve holy would have the ability to customize their healing for specific encounters.  While this seems like a really attractive feature, I have some reservations about whether I can actually be two healers at once. 

An important part of being an effective healer is the ability to quickly assess and react during a fight.  Am I going to waste precious time trying to cast Penance when I need to be casting GHeal?  Or find myself thinking about Guardian Spirit when I should be casting Pain Suppression? 

Disc and holy have different styles of play, but I don’t know that there is enough of a difference for me to be able to keep Discipline Vess and Holy Vess separate in my mind. 

There are also gear issues.  Your priorities for disc and holy are very different, and (although the Tier 8 gear may be an exception) you pretty much need a second set for your offspec.  I can pull a decent set of holy gear together in short order, but it will not be the same caliber as my disc set.

Further, I need to be able to correctly assess which of my two specs is going to be optimal for an encounter.  Huh?  Can someone write an add-on that allows disc and holy priests to rank encounters on a difficulty scale of 1-10, so I can mouseover the boss and see what spec I should use?

Considering the above, its hard to say whether having the ability to swap between pve disc and pve holy would improve my overall contribution to a raid.  Or whether the benefit (if any) would outweigh the cost of gearing up and relearning how to be holy. 

PVP Holy– I think this might be viable for holy priests with really great gear, and I have heard that pvp holy may get some love in the new patch, but pvp holy still seems like an oxymoron to me.

PVE Shadow– This is probably going to be, by far, the most popular offspec choice for healing priests.  Having access to the shadow tree will take away nearly all the pain from doing dailies or repgrind quests.  This combo also gives you great flexibility for raids where more or less dps/healing is required in each fight.  Loads of goodness here. 

But this is probably not the choice for me.  Although Vess has dropped into shadowform from time to time (mostly in the mid 60s and 70s to do some power leveling) I don’t have any interest in questing with him.  Vess is a healer, and my time is best spent keeping people alive, not running around Northrend on some damn fool’s quest. 

That is not to say that I don’t like shadow.  I love shadow.  I love shadow so much, I have a dedicated level 73 80 spriest: Bhender.  (armory profile here.)  So I can get my fix of bringing the shadow hurt almost anytime I want.  When I need gold or mats, I send my badass troll spriest to do the dirty work.

Since Vess will never be the spriest that Bhender is, I can’t see Vess doing pve shadow as his offspec. 

PVP Shadow– These days, pvp seems to be all about burst damage.  Shadow priests don’t really do burst damage.  At all.  Nor can they dot things to death like an affliction lock.  And the tooltip for Shadowform might as well say “PVP Taunt” on it, since it instantly moves you to the top of everyone’s aggro table.  None for me thanks.

TL/DR– So, even though dual specs is an awesome new feature to be added to the game, I am pretty meh about my options for Vess at the moment.  I am guessing that pve holy might get the early nod, followed by pvp disc.  Or vice versa.  I don’t know.  Now can someone lend me 1,000g?  kkthnxbye.



2 comments so far

  1. Holy Dueg! on

    Cool blog, welcome to the community.

    For dealing with PvE Holy and your situation where you’re not sure when you’re going to be needed to switch, there are a couple of factors. The issue of gear is only really going to effect disc priests. Priests can still be effective (though not optimal) as disc in holy gear, but not so much holy in disc gear. However, I would think the idea would be more to deal with the type of encounter. In encounters where the damage is generally streamlined towards one person, you’ll want to go disc and try to single heal with an eye for the occasional AoE heal. Fights where there’s crazy AoE though you may want to go holy if there’s not enough effective AoE healing.

    Only difference is that disc priests are somewhat unique and you can effectively swap out holy priests with druids or shamans, so it’s more attractive for a holy priest than a disc. Also it might be an issue of whether you want to be cemented as a healer, or ever have a chance of going dps in a raid.

  2. wantedpriest on

    Thanks Dueg. Your blog rocks man.

    I see your point that the holy/disc combo is more of an opportunity for a holy priest than a disc priest. The lower marginal benefit to me as a disc priest probably explains my unease about that option.

    At the moment, I am running 10-man content with a slightly undergeared (but talented) holy priest, and an elemental shaman who has respeced resto until we can 2-person heal Naxx-10. I have been pretty happy with the way the healing has worked so far, and feel like that set up has some great synergies.

    Unless something changes in our line up, it looks like aoe healing is pretty well covered without me swapping to holy for fights. And although PoH is not a smart heal like CoH, the ability to cast it on other groups will be an improvement to disc’s ability to handle raid heals, especially with the glyph that adds a hot to PoH.

    Guess I’ll start working on my pvp set this weekend.


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