Suppose a 25-man raid group is aiming for the optimal raid group, and has a choice between which healing classes they want to bring.
-The first Paladin they bring provides one set of blessings. The second Paladin allows each raid member to have two blessings. The third Paladin allows a third blessing.
-The first Shaman provides totems and Bloodlust for one group. Each additional Shaman provides totems and Bloodlust for one additional group.
-The first Druid provides the raid group with a Rebirth and an Innervate. Each additional Druid gives yet another Rebirth and Innervate.
-The first Priest provides the raid group with (Improved) Divine Spirit. However, unlike the three other healing classes, having additional Holy Priests provides no cumulative non-healing benefits whatsoever.
Thus, there is no incentive to bring more than one Holy Priest, when you can stack the raid with other healing classes who have cumulative benefits. THAT is why the role of Holy Priests has diminished in raids.
For the record:
Yes, each healing class has their advantages and disadvantages. Paladins excel at single-target healing. Shamans excel at multi-target healing. Overall, I think Priest is the strongest healer out of the four healing classes. Unfortunately, it's not always enough to warrant losing the benefits of multiple Paladin/Shaman/Druid. It's still viable to bring a second Holy Priest. Circle of Healing is still great. However, in the end, I think an optimally-designed raid prioritizes three Blessings, multiple sets of totems/lusts, and multiple CR's over a second Priest.
We use 2 holy priests for the majority of raids, one has imp divine spirit and the other circle of healing, along with 2 shadow priests to make up 4 priest spots. I'ld encourage all holy priests to take a serious look at their survivability from stamina in raids as taking part in encounters with primal mooncloth just isn't viable at end game raiding in Hyjal and Black Temple.
We use 2 holy priests for the majority of raids, one has imp divine spirit and the other circle of healing, along with 2 shadow priests to make up 4 priest spots. I'ld encourage all holy priests to take a serious look at their survivability from stamina in raids as taking part in encounters with primal mooncloth just isn't viable once you start on bosses such as High Warlord Naj'entus.
Primal Mooncloth Set is great, IMO. It's not great in a fight like High Warlord Naj'entus, because that fight requires many classes to equip gear that they would not normally equip in other fights. Primal Mooncloth will severely hinder your survivability for the Naj'entus fight, but that doesn't make it a bad set. Main Tanking Hydross in Full Tier 5 isn't optimal for a Warrior either, but it's still a great tanking set.
The problem as some of you have stated is not the priest as a healing monster, the problem is, that people are measured in "what they bring a raid".
Healing Priests Brings very few buffs.
+ xx SPI
+ 10%/SPI = damage/healing
+ 102 STA
+ 25% Armor bonus on Heal crits
Beyond that they offer AoE, single healing and much more.
Priest drawbacks is that "all" of this versatility comes at the cost of survivability.
I have with +1900 something healing no problem keeping things alive, I dont die out on mana pool unless I spam healing like a madman, I do the job of MT healer and Raid Healer equally well, but I just dont bring the utility to keep up with say a paladin, who brings alot more to the raid, i case of survivability(1), Staying Power(2) and powerful at healing, what they dont have is what is not much needed cus that's where the Shamans come ind.
I wont make this into a rant, about what the priest lacks in the raids of today, but fact is... that it makes more sense to bring fewer healing priests than before - being a horde myself paladin was unheard of, and now we have them I can understand why the alliance had more progress in PvE than horde had, I dont know what the alliance did about the paladin <> priest standoff but I find that with the 25 man limit this has just enchanced the fact that paladins work better in raids than priest in case of Utility and healing power, and survivability of a paladin is so much more "over teh top" than a priest could ever hope for. (ie. a paladin rare dies from a mob cleave, can bobble out of bad tides, and such, where as the priest often just dies)
Like "Bokchoy" said one priest who can buff both SPI and STA, is fine, but there's no bonus in taking more...
... and I'd like to agree with "Towneh" on the subject that we dont have the survivability with primal mooncloth as we might have had had we some better STA gear, but facts show us that we need the extra healing/mana regen to do our job, if we dont have it, we might as well just stand outside instances waiting to buff parties, and their paladin/shaman/druids before _they_ go raiding... that would be a sad'n sorry story to tell the kids and grand kids. Then again I havn't been to BT so I cant say if the lack of STA is a hinderence there, but so far in SSc Its the only reason one can ever be considered in the eyes of the hybrids.
To top off, the main question, the topic, "holy Priests usage in raids" the SPI buff is awesome, but the STA buff even a shadow priest can bring, so we are worse off than before TBC, though still viable, but not in the same degree as before. - most guilds would bring 1 Healing priest, but the guilds that bring more than 2 Priests are according to my knowledge, among the few.
Clarifying what I mean by:
- Survivability(1) = by this I mean the ability to stay in the fight and alive even though things pile up.
- Staying Power(2) = By this i mean the ability to stay active, doing your job, ie. Healing and buffing doing long fights.
I'm in a guild that often brings a large number of priests. I think our first and thus far only Hydross kill included 6 priests->3 Holy, 3 Shadow.
But, like a number of other guilds, this is mostly due to a lack of choice. We currently have one shaman, who is situationally willing to spec resto, one resto druid and 2-4 paladins, only 2 of whom are really geared for the task. However, we have 4+ Holy priests, 3 of whom are dedicated, geared to the teeth and have shown good gameplay.
Our GM rerolled from his priest to a paladin for many of the aforementioned reasons in the earlier posts. The blessings just can't be beaten and the raid does not benefit as much from another holy as it does from a paladin.
I also agree that priests are a healing machine. I and several other of our priests have been known to top our extremely skilled paladins on a number of fights, but their raid utility combined with their healing power and regeneration is superior to mine in a way that I don't even want to adress.
All in all...only thing I can really suggest for a healing priest main is to start collecting a damage gear on the side and dust off the old shadow skills. Might come in handy sooner rather than later.
Being a priest myself, i agree with the general tenor here. Regarding healing power, we do not have a problem at all. I'm probably the best equipped healer in my raid and i out heal well equipped paladins, shamans or druids on any given day. So raw healing power is definately not the problem. As many said before its the utility of our buffs thats creating the "usage" issue.
In my mind, the easiest way to solve this would be if blizzard would just make secondary Fortitude and Spirit buffs - like stackable buffs. Obviously the second buff wouldn't give you 79stam and another 50 spirit buff - but something like an added 40 stam and 25 spirit. This is of course a very, very basic solution but at least it would mean that there is at least some raid-technical sense to bring more than one holy priest to a raid because he's contributing directly to the entire raid.
I think holy priests are good in that they can fulfill any given healing assignment with ease - whereas Tree Druids and Shamans aren't spectacular single target healers, and Paladins are poor at best raid healers and only really excel at single target. Priests can do any of the roles, plus some good stuff like PoMending and PW:S/Renew.
I think Deris nailed it down perfectly. Those are my exact thoughts. It is not that priest healing is weak. Actually, in a general sense, priest healing is very strong, as you can perform any healing role. The issue i see right now is, as pointed out by most people, priest don't bring anything else to the table. Meanwhile paladins have awesome blessings (and to a lesser extent auras), druids have innervate and battle ress and shaman provides totems.
Making priest healing stronger is NOT the way to go, in my opinion. I think assisting on a specific healing role, depending on what the encounter requires of you is the way to go, as the class stands, because you can pretty much do anything.
We need something that makes it worth it to bring a 2nd or 3rd priest, just like you can with paladins or shaman, for instance.
Balance is about hard choices, it is about picking between two things that are equally good. If bringing a 3rd paladin against bringing a 2nd holy priest is a no-brainer, as it is right now, it means there is no choice, and thus there is no balance.
Who wants to start the lobby group "Holy Priests for Ret Paladin raid viability"?
Barring completely new spells or skills, which I don't see happening before another expansion, that's really our best bet if we're looking to get more raid spots. But then again, if you only need 2 holy paladins, just bring another shaman =P
Thats actually a decent idea, although I can see some negative pvp implications etc. That being said, I don't think 41 holy is necessarily the place for it. That issue is twofold. Foremost, is that it would conflict with IDS, which is actually a fairly substantial dps boost even though it is largely unnoticed
Yes, I didn't think that one through, not That far down then.
Druids, Palas, Shaman and Priests put together are just perfect and won't make the raid lack any healing. Healing still is teamwork.
But like said a million times, there's no reason to take a priest beyond the first one for the secondary utility. Paladins have blessings, shamans have totems, druids have innervate/combat rez and the priest has nothing.