A deeper look at Plea



Plea. When to use it and when not to. This is the question I am going to look into today.

Plea is one of the new Discipline Priest spells being added in Legion. Simply put, Plea is an instant cast spell that heals for a small amount that also applies a full duration atonement buff to the target for a small amount of mana. Now you may be thinking, small mana cost, instant cast and also applies a full duration atonement on the target!? Yes please! However, the one caveat with Plea is that for every atonement buff currently active, the mana cost is increased by 100%.

Regardless of the drawback of using Plea with multiple atonement buffs on the raid, it is the main source of applying atonement buffs outside of Power Word: Radiance

If you take a look at this spreadsheet, you will see just how quickly the mana cost gets out of control. (The first plea cast with no atonement buffs costs 3960 mana. The second cast of plea, with 1 atonement buff will cost you 7920 mana...so on and so on)

If you did not know, Power Word: Radiance at level 110 costs 71,500 mana and applies atonement to the target and the two closest allies. So one PWR cast will give you three atonement buffs.

Power Word: Radiance Cast Animation

Fortunately for us, Plea is not the only spell that applies atonement buffs. Power Word: ShieldShadow Mend and Power Word: Radiance also give targets a buff. So the whole idea behind this post is to try to figure out when it would be more effective to cast Power Word: Radiance (not including PWS because it should be cast on CD. Also not including SM because we will probably (ok maybe sometimes…) not use this spell for the atonement buff application) instead of Plea in order to maximize atonement buffs and mana.

So at what point does casting PWR become a better option for raid healing versus casting Plea? Well to attempt to figure this out we will need to take a few things into account.

  1. Is mana a concern to you? Are you able to get Innervates/Symbols of Hope/Boss Mana Regen Abilities (Essense of Night as an example) to combat casting high mana cost spells?
  2. Do you actually NEED atonement buffs at that point in the fight? Is is possible that other healers can pick up the slack to save you mana?
  3. At how many atonement buffs does it become better to just cast PWR?

Mana? No problem!

If mana is not a concern to you the question becomes which is more effective. Casting Plea? Or casting PWR? Like I mentioned before, Plea is an instant cast ability, so you can cast one Plea every 1.5 seconds. PWR has a cast time of 2.5 seconds but gives you three atonement buffs. I am not much of a math person but it is pretty evident that casting PWR is more effective at applying atonement buffs to your raid versus casting Plea.

Here is the example I used to come to this conclusion. Symbol of Hope and Innervate are 10 second buffs that allows the healer to cast spells for no mana cost. If we used this 10 seconds as the amount of time we had to apply the most amount of atonement buffs to the raid we would see that PWR is more effective. In 10 seconds you can get 12 atonement buffs from PWR versus 6.67 from casting Plea.

Cast time is in seconds. A = Atonement.

Do I really need these right now?

This question is one that I have always struggled with when it comes to progression healing. Do I NEED this buff/HoT/shield on these targets right now? Should I spend this mana to do this right now? The answer to these questions, at least in my opinion, really depends on the boss encounter and your other healers.

Boss Encounters

There have been so many different types of boss encounters over the years but in my mind there are only a few different types when it comes to healing. Obviously these are very broad categories, none of the below "boss types" are by any means absolute (please remember this).

  1.  Normal Boss Encounter: Everyone knows this general boss encounter type. Typically a very simple boss mechanically and in terms of healing. Medium fight length (~5-8min). Healing requirements can vary from low to medium amount of throughput. My opinion of a few good normal boss encounters would be Kormrok / Kilrogg and Mannoroth. These fights are similar because they required (remember we are talking about healing strategy NOT mechanics) only a little bit of strategy. You did not need to run a specific healing comp to kill these bosses on progression. You simply needed to plan your healing CDs and resources around predetermined damage patterns and that is about it. Another thing that these fights have in common is the distribution of low and medium damage phases. Each of these fights has periods of low raid damage and then medium raid damage.
  2. Long Boss Encounter: Long fight length (think  Imperator Mar'gokBlast Furnace ). These fights usually involve constant raid damage or increasing raid damage throughout the fight and that means lots and lots of mana! Long fights, at least in the recent past, have been extremely mana intensive and require intelligent mana management. One thing that all of these fights had in common was that the raid damage was fairly constant throughout the whole encounter. What does this mean? It means that instead of periods of low raid damage (when you can use mana neutral spells and regen mana) followed by periods of high raid damage (where you would use your mana / healing CDs to combat the damage) you simply had damage that kept coming that needed to be healed. How does this type of fight change the game for healers? It makes every healing class, regardless of how mana efficient they may be, mana conscious. 
  3. Exception Boss Encounters: There is no easy way to explain this one. These boss encounters are unique in ways that it can be difficult to really put them into a category. In my mind these fights include fights with high damage periods followed by very low damage periods. Fights where you are not only healing the raid, but other mobs as well (Tsulong / Brackenspore ). Another good example of a fight I would put into this category is Tyrant Velhari. The healing mechanics in these boss encounters are different from normal and long boss encounters. I would also classify fights with high healing requirements followed by long periods of low healing requirements into this category, you would heal that type of fight differently than you would heal a normal or long boss encounter.

So how do these boss types help determine if that buff/HoT/shield was worth casting? Well, I cannot really answer that question for you. It is really a personal/experience thing and there are so many different factors that come into play. However, I have a few guidelines and examples that I use that may help you.

  •  Will casting this spell allow me to get any amount of benefit? If the answer is yes - then you should probably do it. Power Word: Shield is one of the best examples of this type of thinking. Everyone knows that Discipline Priests in Warlords of Draenor were extremely mana efficient. No matter fight length (for the most part) or healing requirements, disc priests were consistently able to throw out shield after shield after shield on the raid. So...say for this example we are in a normal boss encounter with raid damage that happens on a regular basis, throwing shields out on random people in the raid would most likely benefit those players (and in return benefit the priest).
  • Do I have the mana to spend on this spell? This question often comes up on those long and mana intensive fights. To answer this question you need to ask yourself if you will get a substantial enough benefit from casting it now versus casting it later or saving the mana. Here is an example for you. You are running low on mana and you know that there is a large amount of raid damage coming in a few seconds. However, the resto shaman has been asked to healing tide this damage. What should you do? Is it worth spending all your mana to shield people for this upcoming raid damage? Or would it maybe be better to save some mana and shield people for raid damage that you might not have a healing CD for? Obviously this is a very specific example, but you need to be able to quickly analyse and decide if spending that mana is really..REALLY worth it at that point in time...because it might not be.
  • These are just two examples of situations where you are forced to choose between casting a spell or waiting and casting it later. There are so many examples of this but I think these examples express the general idea I was trying to explain. No need for endless pages of examples :)


Healing Composition 

A very important part of healing is having knowledge of other healing classes and their mechanics. Some decisions I have made during progression takes this knowledge into account, and I will continue to do this when it comes to atonement in Legion. 

First let me ask you a question. If you were in a raid as a discipline priest and your healing team was 3 additional shamans. What would your healing priority be? Melee? Tanks? Ranged? Well I can tell you that I would choose tanks/ranged/healers over melee, and here is why. If you take a look at this lovely paint image you will see that the tanks and melee are fairly clumped in the area around the boss, with the ranged and healers spread throughout the room. Resto shamans are much better at clumped AoE healing versus a disc priest who excels at targeted healing. So would it not make sense for the shamans to worry about healing groups of people who are close together rather than focus on raid members who are all spread out?

In my mind, the answer is yes. It would be more beneficial for the raid to have the shamans focus on healing the melee and tanks and to have the disc priest focus on the others. Now this is a very extreme example and it would be silly to have 3 healers focus on the melee and have one healer focus on everyone else, but I think you get the general idea here. Knowing what healing classes are good and poor at should aide you in deciding who you should be prioritizing. (here is a super secret for you people who only care about numbers - if everyone is taking the same amount of damage - it would be more hps to heal the people who will receive less healing from other classes......magic... i know...)

Hand crafted in the early 1800's this piece of art is a timeless classic. People at the time were not aware of the meaning of this masterpiece but new evidence assumes it was made for this blog post.

Plea vs PWR

So the whole idea behind this blog post was to attempt to find when it would be better to cast a PWR over casting three Pleas (obviously not taking into account time/healing from those spells. Just mana cost). In the situation that you need to get several more atonement buffs on the raid for raid healing, the simple answer is to never cast Plea if you have five atonement buffs currently out on the raid. Why? Because casting a Plea with 5 atonement buffs would cost you 23760 mana. PWR costs 71500 mana and gives you three atonement buffs (23833 mana per atonement buff). It would be more mana efficient to cast PWR two times for six more buffs than it would be to cast Plea six times.

In the situation where you have five atonement buffs currently active on the raid and you need to give someone a buff and you will not need to apply anymore before a few fall off, what should you do? Well...casting Plea with given atonement buffs will cost you 23760 mana like I said before so that might be something you would want to do. However, there are other spells that give you atonement buffs. PWS costs 22000 mana at level 110. It would be a good option to cast a PWS on someone instead of casting Plea on that target. It is also important to note that Shadow Mend costs 33800 mana at level 110. In the situation where you have a large amount of atonement buffs out/PWS is on CD, it might be worth casting Shadow Mend on someone to apply a buff.

In Conclusion

Thank you so much for reading my first (legit) blog post! I hope that I have given you some insight and my personal thoughts on Plea vs PWR. I look forward to to hearing your thoughts and suggestions.