The Discipline Priest right now is one of the most unique classes in World of Warcraft, being one which heals in direct proportion to the damage it dishes out. In this Discipline Priest guide, we’ll show you how to come to grips with this unusual, but challenging and rewarding playstyle.
While a Discipline Priest will rarely find themselves at the top of the damage meters (and if yours ever is, please direct your damage-dealing colleagues to our guides!) he or she will nevertheless make a significant contribution to overall team damage, while being fully able to take on a healer’s duties as well. A Discipline Priest has good raid-healing utility and can even excel at healing both the tank and the rest of the party in Mythic+ dungeons.
In this guide, we’re going to outline a recommended talent build that will work well in most situations, and then explain which of your spells most appropriately fits each specific situation you find yourself in. We’ll also offer a damage-dealing rotation that you should use to fuel your healing.
The best way to level a Priest is by questing with the Shadow specialisation - our Shadow Priest guide goes into extensive detail about that - but it is still viable (if a little slower) to do it as a Discipline Priest as well, using the talents and playstyle described in this guide. For optimal Discipline levelling, you should use the Dungeon Finder in-game tool to run dungeons as a healer.
As usual, this guide is set to receive several updates over the coming weeks. Next up, you can look forward to a guide on optimatlly poweringu p your Artifact Weapon, and after that we’ll provide a stat effect table so you can plan out your gear acquisition in advance - or at least know when to replace an old piece for a new one with different stats.
All articles in this series
Discipline Priest talent build
For this talent build, we’ve focused on ease-of-use over maximising damage output, as we feel that some of the maximum damage output talents are a little too fiddly to play with, and merely offer marginal gains that will be negligible outside of hardcore raiding progression.
|Level||Talent Option||Reason for Choice|
|15||Castigation - Penance fires one additional bolt of holy light over its duration.||A flat increase to your major damage source, this will boost your damage without changing your rotation.|
|30||Angelic Feather - Places a feather at the target location, granting the first ally to walk through it 40% increased movement speed for 5 seconds. Only 3 feathers can be placed at one time. Maximum 3 charges.||While slightly clunky to use, this is by far the most useful and versatile talent in this tier. Often you will cast it right on top of yourself in order to benefit from its effects.|
|45||Shining Force - Creates a burst of light around a friendly target, knocking away nearby enemies and slowing their movement speed by 70% for 3 seconds.||A decent choice while levelling or questing, this allows you to get some breathing room if swamped by enemies. The knockback effect can be very useful in dungeons (especially Mythic+ versions) for interrupting several casters at once in a closely-bunched trash group.|
|60||Shield Discipline - When your Power Word: Shield is completely absorbed you instantly regenerate 1% of your maximum mana.||This talent tier is all about mana recovery, and this talent recovers the most and is also the easiest to use - it's entirely passive.|
|75||Contrition - Increases Atonement duration by 3 seconds.||This tier is the one where we can fine-tune the most.Contrition simplifies the playstyle and is a good all-around choice, but once you become familiar with the class, you will be able to wring more performance out of Power Infusion. If you're challenging yourself in high difficulty endgame situations where you are healing targets that often drop quite low on health, Twist of Fat will have a high uptime and will surpass the other talents.|
|90||Divine Star - Throw a Divine Star forward 24 yds, moderately healing allies in its path and dealing Holy damage to enemies. After reaching its destination, the Divine Star returns to you, healing allies and damaging enemies in its path again.||This is the best choice for most situations and can fit easily enough into your healing playstyle, although is not really worth fitting into your damage rotation unless there are a lot of enemies bunched together.|
|100||Purge the Wicked - Replaces Shadow Word: Pain, and cleanses the target with fire, causing moderate Fire damage and an additional high amount of Fire damage over 20 seconds. Spreads to an additional nearby enemy when you cast Penance upon the target.||This is the best talent to maximize damage done and - through your Atonement mechanic - increase your healing output at the same time. That said, if you are having trouble keeping your party alive through 5-man content, consider choosing Grace for a big boost to your healing abilities.|
Discipline Priest rotations
Your User Interface (UI) will play a crucial role in your success as a Discipline Priest. Not only will you need to quickly evaluate a party-member's health to know which spell, if any, you should commit to him or her. You will also need to keep track of who has your Atonement buff, how long it has left on its duration, which enemies are being damaged by Shadow Word: Pain / Purge the Wicked, and for how long these debuffs will last.
Blizzard’s default UI can be configured to facilitate the latter - just enable combat plates by pressing V on the keyboard, and increase their size in the Interface / Names menu. To deal with the former, however, we recommend you install the Grid addon. This provides a grid-shaped list of your party that won’t clutter your UI, but will allow you to check health levels and buff durations at a glance.
Finally, we heartily encourage you to keybind your most common spells and abilities, as you’ll be able to cast them on different targets at a moments’ notice, and often switch between friend and foe at a pace that will make mouse navigation untenable.
Gameplay and rotation
Discipline Priests are less triage-focused than most healers. Instead, what is expected of them is that they maintain their Atonement buff on the players that will require healing, and then deal damage to enemies, healing the Atoned players.
During periods of intensive damage - especially on the tank - the Atonement healing alone will not suffice, and as such the Discipline Priest needs not only to memorize an efficient damage rotation, but also have a firm grasp of the efficiency and proper usage for their “pure” healing and damage absorption spells. We will outline both cases here.
Note that this is not a case of using a healing playstyle on one fight and a damage rotation in another. Rather, you will need to switch between one and the other as the flow of damage dictates.
Regardless of which path you need to take, you always want to have Atonement up on the players you intend to heal. If you only need to heal 1-2 players, you should use Power Word: Shield to apply Atonement, For additional targets, use Power Word: Radiance.
More WOW class guides:
Other WOW guides:
Damage rotation / Atonement healing
When damage is low to moderate, simply attack enemy targets using this rotation while making sure your healing targets have Atonement applied. This should prove enough to get you through most fights. You can also use this rotation while questing (and apply Atonement to yourself, of course).
|Action||Condition / Further Instructions|
|1||Purge the Wicked||Apply to as many enemies as possible, but keep in mind that Penance will help spread it too.|
|2||Penance||Prioritise targets that are affected by Purge the Wicked.|
|3||Light’s Wrath (from Artifact Weapon at level 100)||Make sure you have Atonement on as many people as possible, so as to maximise this damage.|
|4||Divine Star||If 3 or more enemies can be caught in the blast.|
|5||Smite||As filler, when all enemies are affected by Purge the Wicked and none of the other spells are castable.|
|6||Repeat from 1|
Intense healing gameplay
When facing intense damage, Atonement healing alone won’t cut it and you will be forced to fall back on more traditional healing spells.
As always, don’t treat the following list as a set of commandments. Healing is a nuanced art, and what follows is merely a set of best practices regarding when and how to optimize the usage of each of the spells at your disposal. Deviate from it if it means you will be able to keep more people alive for longer!
|Priority||When and Whom to Target|
|1||Power Word : Shield||Cast this on cooldown on the tank (or the player taking the most damage from the mechanics). If several players will be taking high amounts of damage, activate Rapture to shield them all in sequence.|
|2||Plea||If you have less that 6 Atonement buffs active (so in all 5-man situations) and the target is not critically damaged.|
|3||Shadow Mend||If your target is critically low on health or in raids where you have Atonement applied on 6 or more targets.|
|4||Power Word: Radiance||If you need to heal 3 or more targets.|
|5||Divine Star||When used for surviving intense damage periods, don’t worry about the amount of enemies being hit.|
|6||Damage Rotation||If you are unable to do any of the above, or it is not needed, switch back to your damage rotation. Don’t forget to refresh any Atonements that are close to expiring though!|
This concludes the initial version of our Discipline Priest guide! Soon we will add a section on the best path to take when upgrading your Artifact Weapon, and a breakdown of how each stat influences your playstyle and which you should prioritise when selecting gear.
Any comments or suggestions? Please let us know below!