Friday, March 29, 2013

Lolsmite First Impressions

As I mentioned last week, something caused almost all of the healers in my guild to quit all at the same time. Because of this, I'm now Atonement spec. Soon™ I'll have a basic DPS guide for Discipline priests up. For now though, I'm still learning the basics myself.

The first thing I noticed about Lolsmite (which is what I'm going to call Disco Atonement builds) is that the DPS rotation is really simple by comparison to Shadow. I can literally do full DPS with only two buttons. One's a /castsequence macro with a timed reset to cast Solace if it's up, and Smite otherwise. The other's just a normal Penance bind. Because it requires so very little attention, I'm free to do things like not die in fight mechanics and watch HP bars in case I need to cast a real heal.

It's also far more mobile than Shadow ever was. Nearly 1/2 of the main rotation time permits movement - with the Glyph of Penance, of course. In the event that neither Solace nor Penance is available to fill movement, there's always fishing for Rapture with PW:S, or just using it on myself for Body and Soul.

Mana hasn't been much of a concern at all since I specced into Solace and Insanity. Originally I was using Mindbender for the extra damage, (and theoretically lower maintenance,) but mana was tight so I tried out Solace based on a rumor that it hits harder than Holy Fire. It doesn't, by the way. Anyway, Solace should, theoretically, return 7560 less mana per minute than Mindbender and cost an extra 5 globals (at maximum utilization; it's even worse if the cooldown idles.) In practice though, it's way better if you were casting Holy Fire anyway: it also removes the mana cost of Holy Fire, saving about 36000 mana per minute through that mechanic alone. That's huge; it makes Solace more than twice as good as Mindbender for smite priests.

My DPS in Lolsmite is pretty pitiful on cleave; I don't have any cleave. On single-target or AoE though, it's actually very considerable. My AoE DPS is pretty much the same as it was in Shadow; Halo still hits like a truck, and Mind Sear is only a wee bit weaker. My single target's showing at around 60k over a long fight, provided I don't need to cast real heals. This is actually a pretty big contribution to damage from a raid slot allocated as a healer.

My HPS, on the other hand isn't even weak. I'm showing about 20% behind the amazingly-skilled main healer we have that didn't leave us, and way ahead of the shitty pugs we keep filling the third slot with. As I mentioned before, I am watching the HP bars in case I need to cast actual heals, and they still pack quite a punch. Halo in particular can bring my entire 5man from near-empty to near-full in one GCD.

Atonement itself also has value beyond simply the raw HPS it provides: every single tick of it is a 40-yard smart heal. That pretty much means that if the raid isn't topped, none of it's ever going to overheal, and if someone takes a damage spike, I already have an incoming heal on them before any other healer can even react. This behavior has an effect a lot like the raid bubbles Disco used to provide in 5.0-5.1: it's softens blows and it's a great buffer against people taking spikes of avoidable damage.

I actually have been thinking certain fight mechanics were ignorable since I went Lolsmite; that's just how fast Atonement reacts. I see someone else standing in the bad crap, but never dipping below ~80%. So I assume it's either safe or bugged. Then I step in it myself to confirm and nearly die. Speaking of me dying, I'm noticing that prioritizing myself for heals is rather important. The reason is mechanical; Atonement heals half if it has to be used on me, so any non-atonement heals I use ought to go on me before other non-tanks so as to prevent that waste.

Ultimately, Lolsmite is very bland compared to Shadow, but the improved movement and healing efficacy are both nice perks. Most of the interest is coming from the encounters themselves, which I'm free to focus on thanks to the spec mechanics. Hopefully we can find a 3rd healer soon so we can actually get some progression done and I can write some fight-specific guides like I did back in Dragon Soul.

Next week I'll probably be doing a Lolsmite basics post, complete with gearing and a DPS rotation.

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