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Battle for Azeroth Discipline Priest Guide - Essences

Guide provided by Wowhead
Guide provided by Wowhead

Essences

Essences are a new system of power progression for the Heart of Azeroth introduced in patch 8.2. These legendary-like bonuses are unlocked through pre-determined activities including dungeons, raids, open world activities, PvP, reputations, and achievements, and come in four ranks: Uncommon, Rare, Epic, and Legendary. The second and third ranks add to or improve the base effect, while the last unlocks a flashy visual. Each Essence has a unique Major and Minor power, which can be socketed into the Heart of Azeroth upon completing a short introductory questline. For more information on available Essences and the drop locations for each rank, see Wowhead's Heart of Azeroth Essences Overview Guide.

  • At Heart level 50, your first Essence may be socketed in the center node to activate both its Major and Minor Power.
  • At Heart level 55, a second Essence can be socketed in the left node to activate a second Minor Power.
  • At Heart level 65, a third Essence can be socketed in the left node to activate a third Minor Power.
  • Perseverance is unlocked at Heart level 52, 57, 62, and 67 for a total of 12% increased Stamina.

Essences may be changed in any rested area, or by using any Tome of the Quiet Mind type item, but the same Essence cannot be used in multiple sockets, resulting in a total of 1 Major and 3 Minor powers active at any one time. You can pre-plan and preview your Essence setup in Wowhead's Essence Calculator.

Best Discipline Priest Major Essences

While only one Major power can be used at a time, whichever Essence is socketed into the center node of the Heart of Azeroth will also activate its Minor Power, so both effects should be taken into consideration when determining which to use. Below is a short ranking of notable Top Tier, Mid Tier, and Bottom or strictly Situational Tier Major Essences you should consider using when playing a Discipline Priest. Anything not listed is currently considered undesirable or has no noteworthy interaction.

Keep in mind that each rank of each essence comes from a predetermined source and some cannot be unlocked until Season 3 begins, two weeks after patch 8.2 goes live, so plan accordingly. While the first rank of each essence is intended to be acquired relatively easily, the following ranks are meant to be increasingly time consuming, and many cannot be rushed within the first week of Season 3.

The Ever-Rising Tide — The Tome of the Quickening Tides

  • Use on: Raids, General Mythic+

The best essence for most raid encounters and general Mythic+ environment. It halts your mana regen over the course of the duration but is excellent for Discipline's ramps in a raiding environment. With a low cooldown there is very heavy emphasis on optimizing your ramp up windows to take advantage of the raw healing buff that is granted by each successive cast. The general plan will be to maximize stacks without severely impacting your build up on Atonements.

The Minor Power is also useful, but entirely passive so you will not need to worry about micromanaging it. Additional primary stats or mana returned are consistently helpful and are well suited to both areas of content.

Effect on gameplay

Through testing on the PTR the most favorable way seemed to include using both Power Word: Radiance charges during the duration, after multiple Power Word: Shield / Shadow Mend casts, so that you could maximize your uptime dealing damage with the healing buff up. This can cut down on a stack or two but will offer a sizeable burst that maximizes buff uptime and Atonement duration. Abilities like Evangelism, Power Word: Solace, and Rapture do not grant stacks so they should not be utilized during the Overcharge Mana buff.

When using this ability with Rapture, it does not increase the value of your absorption effects so it seems favorable to use the Overcharge Mana after you activate Rapture, then cast as many Power Word: Shields as possible during the remaining duration then into a singular Power Word: Radiance for a smaller ramp in between Evangelism uses. You lose out on an extra Power Word: Shield cast but gain an extra stack of healing bonus which is helpful with this smaller ramp not being able to extend the duration.

Proposed Essence Ramp Up with Evangelism
Proposed Essence Ramp Up with Rapture

In Mythic+ this trait looks to be an excellent option as it allows you to build up healing buff stacks while multi-dotting enemies with Purge the Wicked. By doing so, you can more easily respond to incoming damage with pure Atonement healing rather than having to switch into Shadow Mend spam. The cooldown is low enough that you can frequently have it up in between pulls and the mana cost does not seem to be a large hindrance except on the most deadly of tyrannical boss encounters where you would already be fighting for efficient mana usage due to heavy Shadow Mend healing required.

Memory of Lucid Dreams — Pearl of Perspicuous Intentions

  • Use on: Average in Raid, potential for Mythic+

Strong option, especially if you do not have external mana at your disposal. Playing more aggressively with your mana pool allows greater raw throughput and more aggressive ramp ups. While there is certainly a stronger alternative if you have the extra mana to sustain it, this Essence does a great job at giving you greater resource return and keeping your mana looking healthy.

Effect on gameplay

Very minimal. Your area for maximization will be to use this in a position where you can most benefit from the Leech bonus and you will not overcap on mana. This can be particularly effective in Mythic+ if you needed to put out great self-healing while topping others off. Ever-Rising Tide seems particularly competitive for Mythic+ for example, but if there are especially taxing Tyrannical bosses, it might be more effective to use Memory of Lucid Dreams to stabilize your mana pool while providing strong self healing.

On a Galvazzt style challenge you would be able to self sustain yourself with this high leech buff while healing others in your party. With a recently buffed 2 minute cooldown it could very well be the option on long encounters that stretch you to your fullest.

Life-Binder's Invocation — Lingering Seed of Renewal

  • Use on: Mythic+

This trait offers significant party-wide healing in difficult weeks like Grievous or Bursting. Stacking a high quantity of seeds on a small group of players allows for an easier what to get out of tricky situations. Any wasted seeds will move to the cooldown reduction. This trait is not as powerful for Discipline in raids, the ideal interaction is to utilize it in raids so that you maximize the HoT effect of the seeds while still allowing them to burst. This is particularly difficult to do in The Eternal Palace as many encounters have consistent ticking or pulsing damage. Best used for challenging Mythic+ weeks.

Vision of Perfection — Perfection-Enhancing Gearbox

  • Use on: Mythic+, World Quests, Open World Content

Vision was changed before it went live to activate Shadowfiend in lieu of Rapture for Discipline, a solid buff to its value. That being said there are other more valuable options for a Raid environment and the specialization often craves control over random procs. In Mythic+ this essence can offer significant uptime resulting in strong damage and some instances of strong burst healing on long or tedious boss fights.

This can be an effective questing essence granting a substantial single target increase. Beyond that there are other Essences that are quite easily acquired that can do a more effective job.

The Well of Existence — Calibrated Existence Gauge

  • Use on: Mythic+

High potential for strong Mythic+ usage as it accumulates overheal and allows you a short cooldown with which you can redirect it. Minor downsides are the limited quantity that the Well absorbs, being capped at the player's maximum health. This can become problematic on high throughput required bosses where you generate very low overhealing, see Galvazzt. In this situation you can go into the fight with a capped Well, but the passive effect will begin to drain away the value of the orb in between cooldowns of the active ability and then it will be very difficult to refill when you are no longer producing overhealing.

This can also occur on trash packs where heavy group damage is common. Waycrest Manor has many mobs that deal heavy damage to the entire party through DoT effects. In this situation you can still generate heavy overheal through constantly multi-dotting enemies with Purge the Wicked while you maintain Atonement on the party, but it can quickly fade away if there is too much pressure on the group leaving you vulnerable without its power.

Effect on gameplay

This is a very simple trait to work with and most commonly involves multi-dotting enemies and maintaining Atonements on your party until your Well is filled. Then, if you are alternating utilizing Refreshment to heal while still healing through Atonement you may be more inclined to heal 2 or 3 targets that are injured by applying Atonement to everyone in the group through Power Word: Radiance rather than individual Shadow Mend casts.

By using the Major you also receive the Minor effect as well. You need to be aware of this when using Refreshment as at all ranks for the Major trait your healing is amplified when using the Major effect, making it more important to use the active ability rather than the passive to heal targets. Preventing healing from the passive effect will allow for more efficient use of the Well's reserves.

Conflict and Strife — Rib-Bone Choker of Dominance

  • Use on: PvP?

Our dream talent was unfortunately nuked from orbit due to the excessive power it held in a raiding environment. Currently this trait offers minimal benefit for Raid or Mythic+ and is unlikely to be represented in either environment. The Minor Power grants stacking Versatility, which is decent but there are better bonuses from other Minor Powers to take instead.

Vitality Conduit — Grid of Bursting Vitality

  • Use on: ???

An incredibly awkward and ill-suited essence. It basically does the same job, but worse, of existing essences. The idea behind it is to have constant healing redistribution throughout the Major and Minor effects but still leaves the issue that there is still healing to be done. When a tank is taking very heavy damage this trait can help alleviate the pressure onto the party, but that means little if there is damage going out onto the entire group.

It is only until the Rank 3 that the passive actually contributes additional healing in the form of a small absorption effect. Until that point other essences can support the tank in a more effective way without harming the rest of the party along the way.


Best Discipline Priest Minor Essences

Two additional Minor Essence slots can be unlocked over time, providing additional benefit. While the above rankings already detailed several minor bonuses, the rankings below consider only the Minor or how it might interact when using it alongside a different Major Essence. Anything not listed is currently considered undesirable or has no noteworthy interaction.

Memory of Lucid Dreams — Pearl of Perspicuous Intentions

  • Use on: Raids, Situational Mythic+ Support

The perfect pair to the Ever Rising Tide's Major effect. Lucid Dreams grants a substantial portion of mana return to the caster and helps offset part of the mana lost from the regen prevented using Overcharge Mana.

Effect on gameplay

It is an entirely passive effect but does an excellent job of stabilizing your mana pool when you have a low cooldown on a high throughput ability like Overcharge Mana. The only issue with this essence is that Discipline has a large disparity in mana costing abilities and some of its most frequent casts are low cost abilities like Smite. So while it will feel incredible when your Power Word: Radiance casts get refunded, there is a high likelihood of some cheap Smite's being refunded frequently over the course of the fight.

This means, that if you are able to get by with external mana tools like Innervate, you are using the new Alchemist Stone, or other mana sources this essence might be skipped in favor of others that bolster your pure throughput.

The Well of Existence — Calibrated Existence Gauge

  • Use on: Additional raw throughput, Raids/Mythic+

Discipline naturally generates substantial overheal. You make an upfront investment by spending much of your mana on Atonement applicators then maximize their efficacy through damaging abilities. Frequently, your Atonement applicators will expend more mana than your damaging ones, causing you to continue dealing damage even if most of the raid is topped off because you want to continue receiving value from those Atonements that you have already paid for.

This means that there is very high likelihood that you will have little issue bolstering your Well's reserves in a Raid or Mythic+ environment and you just grant a new tool to distribute bonus healing whenever a target drops low.

Effect on gameplay

Continue to charge up your Well. In Raids this will often happen naturally and you should not waste mana to charge the Well. In Mythic+ where you are able to frequently drink between pulls, you should more frequently use Power Word: Radiance to heal your party, even if only 2 or 3 are injured, rather than using single target abilities like Shadow Mend so that you can generate more overheal to your Well in preparation for dangerous pulls that may catch you off guard.

Life-Binder's Invocation — Lingering Seed of Renewal

  • Use on: Mythic+, 2nd Minor for Raid

Provides additional trickle healing and is particularly helpful for Mythic+ when there is high group damage from affixes or boss fights. This can also make for a solid 2nd minor trait to select. It can even be a stronger option than The Well of Existence if fights accelerate to the point where players are rarely dropping below 50% HP for a long enough period of time for the Well to achieve decent value.

Effect on gameplay

None.

Vision of Perfection — Perfection-Enhancing Gearbox

  • Use on: World Content, Extra Mythic+ Damage

Reduces the cooldown of Shadowfiend in its passive form. If you utilized a different major essence for open world content this minor essence gives some extra damage and the Atonement healing it transfers.

Effect on gameplay

Entirely passive.

Conflict and Strife — Rib-Bone Choker of Dominance

  • Use on: Mythic+

While the Major effect was nuked from orbit, the minor effect for this essence offers a significant Versatility buff that can be incredibly helpful for the Mythic+ environment. It is an entirely passive effect but with chain-pulling from pack to pack, and constantly jumping in and out of combat you should be able to sustain a high quantity of stacks further increasing your damage and healing.

Artifice of Time — Azerite-Fueled Timequartz

  • Use on: Situational M+

An interesting Minor effect that grants substantial Haste uptime to players healed. Artifice of Time can offer a bit of extra damage that can make a critical difference on bosses with tight damage checks in Mythic+. Unfortunately this trait never really caught on in a raiding environment as it was often more efficient to just have the healer run damage essences if they wanted to contribute to the raid group but the potential is still there for being helpful in Mythic+ in some situations.

Effect on gameplay

Minimal. Maintain Atonement on the dps that pay you the most gold!

Vitality Conduit — Grid of Bursting Vitality

  • Use on: Situational Mythic+

Health redistribution that alleviates pressure on the lowest health target but does very minor effective healing. This could most likely see use in some Mythic+ environments where you want to assist the tank in a greater capacity. Unfortunately it holds a similar role to Well's passive effect in Mythic where the Well will actually produce additional healing rather than taking health from other players.

Effect on gameplay

None.




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