To catch you all up:

Lunaris did a major shuffle-around recently because some people realized that the mains they had chosen in anticipation of Cataclysm weren’t always as fun as they had hoped. Our holy paladin (formerly a resto druid, formerly a DK tank, formerly a mage – can you see a pattern?) decided he’d prefer to play his hunter.  Our resto druid wanted to be a boomkin instead. Our bear-butt tank thought maybe he’d like to try out healing, but on a priest instead of a druid. I also wanted to play my priest, so our holy priest? Switched to her holy paladin. My boyfriend kind of rolled his eyes at all of us, but he also switched mains, from his hunter to his frost DK with a lovely tank offspec, just in case, since we’ve just got two full-time tanks now.

All in all, it was a crazy couple of weeks, filled with heroic gear-grinding and farming like whoa for a Darkmoon Card: Tsunami (which, incidentally? Is a sexy sexy healer trinket).

Well one of the results of all this is that I’ve realized how two holy priests, with similar talents and gear, can heal TOTALLY differently, and be equally effective.  I am an instant-cast junkie. I run around with Inner Will on, sprinkling Renews, abusing glyphed Prayer of Mending, loving the hell out of Holy Word: Serenity, and popping Circle of Healing every time it’s up and there’s been raid damage (which, in my experience with Cata raids so far? Is almost always). I even use my Power Word: Shield because speedy bubbles are made of win.  Our other priest tends to have either Flash Heal or Prayer of Healing at the top of his heal meters, with nary a Renew or Prayer of Mending in sight.

Well, patch 4.06 brought a few new changes to holy, most notably the buff to Desperate Prayer. Prior to the patch, this wasn’t even considered an “optional” talent because the heal was so pathetic with Cataclysm’s new inflated health pools, even for the squishies. Now it’s pretty significant for  a mana-free self heal, even with the hefty cooldown. Of course, now I want it. I also want Improved Power Word: Shield and Veiled Shadows. I want all the talents, goddamn it. Give to me more talent points!


My current spec is 6/32/3.

I’m seriously considering changing it up to be 7/31/3, giving up Spirit of Redemption for Desperate Prayer, and losing Rapid Renewal and a point in Mental Agility for two points in Improved Power Word: Shield. I’m not sure yet if I’m willing to sacrifice 2% haste for a reduced cooldown on both Fade and my Shadowfiend, but it’s something I’m also considering since I’m currently above the haste soft-cap of 12.5% raid buffed, and with some light reforging, could get back there even with 2% less from talents.

It’s kind of exciting to be playing a spec where your talent choices really are dependent on your style and personal preference, rather than just taking most of your points for max DPS  and then having a handful of points to spend by preference (yes, I’m looking at you Elemental Shaman talents).  I don’t know that there is a “right” cookie-cutter holy priest spec right now. Yes, you have to put at least 31 points in the holy tree, but there aren’t too many talents that don’t feel tied to playstyle, and therefore, all optional.  The opinion of your raid leader, of course, may differ if you decide to give up things like Lightwell, Circle of Healing, or Guardian Spirit, but overall, it feels very fluid to me, and probably one of the best examples I’ve found that actually feels like Blizzard made choosing talents dynamic and impactful.