Serendipity & Prayer of Healing

July 16, 2009 at 2:44 pm (Binding Heal, Circle of Healing, Flash Heal, Glyphs, Grouping, Healing Mechanics, Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Raiding, Renew, Serendipity, Spells, Surge of Light, Talents)

By far the biggest heal in a Priests arsenal is Prayer of Healing and even with the upcoming 3.2 nerf it out heals every other Priest spell by a long way. Greater heal crits for around fourteen thousand, Prayer of Healing currently crits for twice that! What Serendipity gives you is the ability to blast the raid with giant Prayers of Healing at a moment’s notice.

Using stacks of Serendipity you can be dropping a Prayer of Healing as fast as you could cast a flash heal. The key is being able to build up Serendipity stacks as fast as possible, and being able to use them at the right time.

Serendipity wills stack whenever you cast a Flash Heal or a Binding Heal. Flash Heal is not a fantastic raid heal spell. It’s fast but it’s only one target out of the whole raid. Binding Heal is usually the better choice so long as you aren’t overhealing too much. However Surge of Light procs give free, instant cast Flash Heals which is not something to scoff at. Flash Heal is not the best raid heal, but it fills a role.

The Circle of Life:

The result is a really neat synergy.

Circle of Healing will do AoE healing and probably proc Surge of Light.

You spend you free Flash Heal for healing and a Serendipity buff.

Throw out a renew on a player for a small instant heal (and possible Surge of Light proc).

You cast Binding Heal for more healing, more chance of crits, and more Serendipity buffs.

You cast Prayer of Healing with 2-3 haste buffs and in the process probably proc Surge of Light again.

Back to Circle of Healing and repeat.

So the idea here is to let Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Surge of Light and Binding/Flash heals top up the people really in trouble whilst Prayer of Healing takes massive advantage of the Serendipity buffs to land giant splash heals on whole groups at a time.

So that’s how we get Serendipity buffs, but how to best use them?

Making the best use of Prayer of Healing

Prayer of Healing will hit 5 people in a specific group. So it’s important we think very hard about which 5 players to heal. Because it’s not a smart heal we can’t rely on it to heal the 5 people most in need of it. Therefore it’s up to us to ensure that the people who need healing are all in the same group.

We do that by careful use of our “filler” spells, the things we used to generate our Serendipity buffs. So for example, we cast Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Renew, Flash Heal and Binding Heal to help generate our Serendipity stacks. If we were to throw these out randomly we would not expect to have a good target for Prayer of Healing. Chances are that no single party would have 5 players on low health, they’d each have a mix of players near death and players at full.

This is what I call spot healing, and it’s the bread and butter of a good healer. You aren’t just healing anybody who needs it, you’re being careful about the sorts of heals you use, and who you use them on to create a situation where you can benefit the most from your real powerhouse heals. If you just go crazy with Prayer of Healing straight off the bat individual players may not survive long enough to see that Prayer land. So topping up players before trying to cast a Prayer is an important stage, and with Serendipity you benefit even more from this Spot Healing stage. Once people are out of danger and you have created a nice juicy target group, that’s when you come in with the big slow heals like Prayer of Healing.

So the process of generating our Serendipity buffs is important to helping us make the best use of our Prayer of Healing. We want to spread these heals out to leave us a good target for Prayer of Healing: A party of 5 players on more or less the same health, and with plenty of health deficit so we aren’t wasting mana on overhealing.

Some of our heals will do this automatically. Prayer of Mending and Circle of Healing will heal targets on the lowest health so they automatically help to balance out everybody’s health. All we need to do is be thoughtful about Binding Heal, Flash Heal and Renew.

An example of what I mean: I’m in group 1 and we’re all on low health. I want to heal a Player in group 2. Usually I’d cast Binding Heal because it’s healing me and another player at the same time. But if I’m about to cast Prayer of Healing on my party anyway, then it would make more sense to cast Flash heal on that group 2 player. If I used Binding Heal I’d just overheal myself a moment later when I cast Prayer of Healing. Binding Heal is a fantastic spell, but in this situation it’s essentially just wasted healing because I’m going to heal my group with Prayer of Healing anyway. So in this situation I should cast Flash heal and save some mana and overhealing even though Binding Heal looked like a good choice.

The goal here is to try and heal the raid in such a way that you have a nice big target for Prayer of Healing every time you cast it. If you find the other Healers in your raid are treading on your toes here, then chat to them about having specific groups you are responsible for. Perhaps you pick a group and let everybody know that you will be targeting them with most of your Prayer of Healings. Make sure it’s a group who regularly stand close to each other, perhaps a group of melee characters, then you can be sure they will take similar damage, and be in range of each other. In 25 man raiding you may find that other healers will happily do the spot healing for you, leaving you free to top the groups off. It may seem less glamarous than throwing out fast heals to save lives of individual players, but ultimately it’s all the same thing. You’re landing the big heals which are keeping the raid healthy, confident and out of the danger zone, and in the process probably doing substantially more overall healing that those focusing on catching low health players.

Tip: Glyph of Prayer of Healing is rediculously good. Rediculously rediculous. If you’re raiding as a holy priest it’s a no brainer. If you raid 10 mans as discipline you will probably find that you still do a reasonable amount of raid healing and, as such. it’s probably still worth taking a long hard look at even over something like Glyph of Flash Heal. We’ll talk later about breaking down healing meters to see how best to glyph yourself out for your style of healing.



  1. Elysanne said,

    In principle the idea of setting up for Prayer of Healing is great.
    However in practice, such decisions of who to heal has to be made in a split second.
    If I find I have taken some damage, I will just binding heal whoever else has taken some damage. By the time I realize there could have been a more optimal heal target, binding heal is halfway through casting. Just let the heal continue imo.

    One trick I use to help set up PoH is to CoH the yellow fellow. Doesn’t matter if he’s on full health. That’s right, its easy to pick out the rogue on raid frames, and all the melee will be somewhere nearby, ensuring maximum coverage from CoH. By targetting the single-role-only rogue, you wont mistakenly CoH the deathtank, or unenhanced shammy, the non-cat druid, the warrior tank or the unretadin. 2nd priority CoH will be the tank, but not optimal as the melee will be behind the boss, on the opposite end of the hitbox, CoH might miss some of them. This leaves the ranged groups as viable targets for PoH.

    I used Glyph of PoH before, but WWS logs have shown that this HOT component does not contribute much to effective healing. In an ideal world Glyph will account for 20% of the PoH heals. WWS parses over several raids shows my Glyph of PoH doing closer to 5% of the effective heals of PoH. Leave the HoTs to the trees imo.
    Currently running with these glyphs: CoH, GS and Flash Heal.

    If we think of raid healing with a team mentality, then Disc does the prevention, Trees do the HoTs, Shammies do the smart heals, Pallies do the tank heals. Holy does the burst raid heals. The main job of Holy being to quickly heal the raid out of the danger zone, giving time for the more efficient Druid HoTs to work their magic. Holy can think about topping off the raid after everybody is above half health.

    • SpotHeal said,

      I think it’s an overstatement to say healing decisions are made in a split second and allow no time for setting up Prayer of Healing. Now it may not be possible in some fights, I think for example of Ignis where commonly a lot of people take unpredictable damage. In such cases it’s important to get them out of the danger zone. On other fights, I’m thinking for example Kologorn, the damage is much more predictable and you can be much more intelligent about setting up heals.

      I do like the idea of casting CoH on a particular person who you can guarantee will be in a certain area. That being said, being I’m raiding 10 mans usually I just have a melee group and a ranged group so I don’t really have to look for a particular player. Anybody in Group 1 will be in melee range pretty much all the time. You make the point well though, set your groups or players up so you can have some idea of where the health bars are in relation to each other. It’s rather annoying to hit chain heal and only see one health bar fill up because you didn’t take range into account.

      As for Glyph of PoH I find quite the opposite. Again, I’m in 10 mans, and usually do a substantial amount of raid healing given my guild has a prominent Holy Paladin. As such I find the ticking from Glyph of PoH is rarely overheal, it does a very substantial amount of work for me. Again, point well made though.
      Thanks for the feedback.

  2. Holy Talent Spec « Spot Heal said,

    […] of Light procs a lot, it gives you free heals, and those free heals give you stacks of Serendipity. I’ve talked before about how important Serendipity is for a Holy Priest and Surge of Light has a lot of Synergy with […]

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