Over the pass few days I have been busy leveling a discipline priest on the Beta servers for Warlords of Draenor. The concept behind the discipline priest is a good one and after leveling and healing with a paladin it seemed a reasonable progression to move onto providing shields directly rather than the indirect absorption shields of the paladin. So with the power of light behind me I ventured forth with the battle cry of —>SHIELDS!! (Star Trek fans, you can name the film)
Initially I started to level with Shadow as my main spec, but soon changed this to see if discipline was viable. This would actually allow me to have one spec to level and heal with throughout the expansion and not have to learn a variety of playing styles. Although I normally dislike playing a ranged dps without a pet (I dislike it when I am trying to cast a spell and the mob is just constantly hitting me), the priest with its shields allows me to avoid this making it more ‘acceptable’.
So, how does it level? Well essentially, it works well. You have your divine shield and procing aegis to keep you safe from harm and four damage spells (Shadow Word: Pain, Smite, Penance and Holy Fire) to take the mobs down. Lacking a execution phase spell I took the talent Twisting Fate, which allowed me to do more damage once the mob falls below 35% health. Although this doesn’t announce itself, I knew it was there. I also took Surge of Light which allowed Flash Heal to become a instant cast. This allowed me to heal myself when things went really badly, as well as giving me a proc graphic to see – making the damaging process slightly more exciting (sarcasm). Atonement and aegis procs generally keep you safe from harm and your Void Tendrils are useful to drop when you need to get away from too many mobs. All appears to be good so far…so would I level as discipline?
As part of the new expansion every time you level you receive a random leveling perk. These support your leveling and are different for each glass and often for each spec within those classes. My leveling perks so far have been related to increased healing. My penance and healing (formerly greater heal) do more healing. Although this would be useful if I was healing, as I level they serve no use at all. I would even go on to say that they are pointless. Since I am from an EU server, I have not been able to copy my characters across to the beta servers, so I am working with gear levels around 500-530. This has caused some problems when trying to heal dungeons, since my item level is so low compared to others. Therefore I have avoided dungeons, focusing more on questing. Simple adjustments to these leveling perks would be possible, for example, adding the percentage increase to damage as well as healing for penance. Before you ask – yes you do get more damage specific perks as shadow but should these also be available for a discipline priest?
While questing, the amount of damage I deal is adequate. It means you can kill things, but it just takes a little bit longer. However, because you are atonement healing and shielding yourself this is not really a problem. It does become more a problem when you need to take down multiple mobs or ‘boss’ mobs within the quests. After about five minutes attack the boss mob, I am usually hoping (and literally praying) for a dps class to come along and help out. This is not because I will not be able to kill it, it is more the case that it would take a long time to do it. With many of the quests requiring you to kill several mobs (often between 20 and 40) the lack of dps can often leave you behind the other classes who are completing the quest with you. Coupled with this is the lack of AOE spells which can take down multiple mobs. I have seen many classes rounding up five or more mobs at a time to kill them. Although I can take two – three can often prove a problem and four becomes difficult. If I can group with someone then I do of course fit nicely into the class’ “damage the mob and heal everyone around as I do it” role. Many classes however do not ‘need’ the group and so many an invite is declined.
There might be an issue with my equipment level while leveling which might reduce my ability to deal damage considerable. It is viable to level within discipline spec and you do have a relative high survival rate. If you want to level quickly, it would be more beneficial to be shadow spec, group for the big quests or even chose a different class. Currently 94th, I’m going to change spec and try leveling using holy in dps mode for a few levels. This can only be seen as being …. exciting!