September 15, 2009 at 6:04 pm (5 mans, Grouping, Healing Mechanics, Mana, Raiding, Shadow Fiend, Shadowform)

Hymns are recent style of Priest spell which originally came out with Wrath of the Lich King but, after being rather lacklustre, were reworked to their current form in 3.1.

I say they are a new style of spell because whilst they have different effects, they do have similar mechanics.

The core mechanics of a Hymn are that they are: a) Channelled, b) Smart, c) Give a short buff, d) Have a long cooldown.


In the case of Divine Hymn it’s an 8 second channel which smart heals players in your raid, and in the process gives them a buff increasing healing received by 15%, 10 minute cooldown.

With Hymn of Hope it’s an 8 second cast which returns 3-12% mana to those in your raid with the lowest mana, and gives a buff increasing maximum mana by 20%, 6 minute cooldown.

Because they are channelled and smart, it is easy to tap a button and sit back for 8 seconds while they go to work. Divine Hymn in particular is fantastic for getting you through tricky abilities like Hodir’s Frozen Blows, XT’s Tantrum, Jaraxxus’ Incinerate Flesh eruption and so forth. It seems like the only decision you really have to make is when to press that button and use that cooldown.

That’s all there is to say isn’t it? Well I’m not so sure, because for me the most interesting part of these Hymns is the buff they add. If you really want to squeeze every advantage you can out of your spells, there are some very interesting things you can do with Hymns.

For a start:

Hymn of Hope is actually slightly better than it looks. The ability says it returns 3% mana per tick. Because it is also increasing your maximum mana by 20% it’s actually returning 3.6% mana per tick because of that temporary mana boost. So that’s nice, but it’s the tip of the iceberg:

Shadow Priests and Hymn of Hope

If you are running out of mana (long fights, lack of mana breaks) you can gain a lot of mana by using Hymn of Hope. Now usually Shadow Priests don’t use Hymn of Hope because it takes them out of Shadow Form so the mana they gain from the Hymn is lost by having to re-cast Shadow Form. Even if they get all 4 ticks that’s only 12% (14.4% with the 20% boost) mana, half of which is spent getting back to Shadoform. That’s not the way to use it.

Hymn of Hope boosts your maximum mana by 20% temporarily. That means for those few seconds you gain 20% more mana from things which depend on your maximum mana. That means things like: Replenishment. Dispersion. Shadow Fiend. As a Shadow Priest if you can Shadow Fiend and then immediately channel Hymn of Hope you will gain 20% more mana from your Fiend. If you were to use Hymn of Hope, and then cast Dispersion you would gain 20% more mana from Dispersion.

Now for a class concerned with pumping out DPS the idea of standing still channelling Hymn of Hope doesn’t sound attractive. Before you dismiss it, think about Dispersion. While you’re dispersed you aren’t able to cast anything anyway. The buff from Hymn of Hope lasts 8 seconds. So if you were to cast Hymn of Hope very quickly, just long enough to get the buff, then immediately use Dispersion you are losing very little extra DPS time. You spend a GCD channelling and another to recasting Shadow Form. In exchange you get 20% more mana from Dispersion (and Replenishment, and for much of Shadow Fiend if you cast that too). If you think that Dispersion returns 36% of your maximum mana. And Shadow Fiend 40%, then using these with Hymn of Hope gains you 10-15% extra maximum mana for almost no lost DPS time.

Divine Hymn

Hymn of Hope for Everybody!

It’s not just for Shadow Priests either of course, Holy and Discipline Priests can also benefit from the extra mana returned from Shadow Fiend. And as a Discipline Priest my maximum mana is already very high, so I’m getting even more free mana this way than a Shadow Priest would. I’ve got 26k mana raid buffed. When I use Hymn of Hope that jumps to 31k. Shadow Fiend returns 40% of my maximum mana so using Hymn of Hope is gaining me 14.4% from the four ticks, and another 20% of whatever I would have got from Shadowfiend. That comes to about 22% of my max mana returned just by the Hymn of Hope. Now of course, if you’re not running out of mana you probably don’t need to do this for yourself, but there are other good reasons to.

All together now!

It’s not only you benefiting from Hymn of Hope. If you Hymn of Hope when a Mage is channelling Evocate they (so long as they get the buff) will get 20% more mana as well. If you cast Hymn of Hope when you see another player using Shadow Fiend they get the benefit. If you use it when another player is channelling Hymn of Hope the effects stack. So, if I see another Priest channel Hymn of Hope while using Shadow Fiend, and I do the same, we both gain extra mana from Replenishment, and extra mana from each other’s Hymn of Hope, and extra mana from our own Hymn of Hope, and extra mana from our Shadow Fiends. That’s a lot of added benefits.

Ok that’s starting to sound confusing. My point is, using Hymn of Hope together with other abilities allows you to get free mana from those abilities.

In practice you’ll probably never be able to coordinate several people in your raid to all use their abilities just as you use Hymn of Hope. Extra mana is nice, but if it requires you to start chatting over Ventrillo to time everybody using their mana abilities at the same time then free mana isn’t enough of an incentive. So mass coordination probably isn’t worth it, but you can certainly still gain some benefit if you use it carefully. My take away from this post is, if you aren’t using Hymn of Hope, then there are real benefits from doing so both to you and other raid members. It’s best used when you see other players on low mana, or using important abilities like Evocate or Shadow Fiend when you know you can afford it.

If you are a Shadow Priest, then despite what you may think, Hymn of Hope is actually very useful when combined with Dispersion and Shadow Fiend.

I’ve already gone on quite a lot, so I’ll save Divine Hymn for next week.



  1. justsigneduptopost said,

    Hymns are great. I don’t remember where, but on some other blog someone once wished for a shadow hymn. I can only agree. It could give shadow priests that long cooldown burst potential they want so badly. 🙂

    About stacking fiend and hymn, there is a problem with timing. As soon as I go below 50% mana or so, I use shadowfiend to (hopefully) have it available again later in the fight. I think using hymn at the same time might be wasted (overflow), and if you wait long enough to use fiend and hymn, it might be too late in the fight to use fiend again.

  2. SpotHeal said,

    Boss Fights: I agree the timing doesn’t always match up in terms of mana back. In long fights you ought to use Fiend as soon as you can in the hope you willl be able to use it again a second time. In which case as you say, there is not always a good (selfish) reason to use both at the same time.
    However on shorter fights (sub 8 minutes) you won’t get the option to Fiend twice (without Veiled Shadows) so Hymn of Hope makes sense to boost the one fiend you do get.

    As Shadow, with your much lower Shadow Fiend cooldown, if you’re only thinking of Boss Fights then perhaps I overstated my case a little. I know a lot of Shadow Priests who have trouble in trash situations because they spend so much mana recasting their DoTs every time. In Trash situations HoH and Fiend does seem viable (although obviously it’s a bit less of a hot tip because it’s replacing sitting drinking!)

    So, Shadow Priests – unless you’re managing your mana poorly – Me a lot of the time, if I’m not expecting to run out of mana i rarely use Fiend early. Or you die and get Combat Ressed (which kills your mana pool), it’s probably more useful for Trash than bosses. You do still give that nice benefit to the rest of your party however. And it still works with Dispersion.

    Discipline and Holy I think HoH and Fiend makes sense in 4-8 minute fights.

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