Primal Mooncloth – Do You Need to Upgrade?

Have we been teaching wrong? Image courtesy of gozdeo

There’s a gearing question I get asked more frequently than any other. I also see it all over the Priest-related interweb. It goes something like this:

My Priest just started running Kara/Heroics, and I have the Primal Mooncloth Set. I’m dying a lot. When can I/ should I break PMC bonus so I can get more stamina?

The answer is invariably along these lines:

PMC has no Stam and makes it hard to stay alive. As soon as you have 2 of the 3 slots replaced, go ahead and break it. Shopping List: Robes of Heavenly Purpose or Gown of Spiritual Wonder, Light-Mantle of the Incarnate or Mantle of the Avatar, and Belt of the Long Road or Cord of Braided Troll Hair.

This always kind of bothers me a little bit, probably because I’m a crotchety oldster who was working my way through T5 content before the 2.3 badge rewards and ZA were introduced. Back in MY day, the only pieces that would add stamina to your stats without gimping your +healing and regen abominably were your Tier tokens. Which, with the infamous Warrior-Priest-Druid combo, in most raiding guilds, went to tanks first. And especially since Druid tank itemization meant they needed the T4 set bonus, preferably from their chest, Priests were pretty much out of luck. (I’ll spare you a very compelling QQ-anecdote about the injustices visited on my Priests specifically when it came to Tier-gear. Just know that it was very tragic, compelling, and you should pity me. Thank you.)

Basically, Primal Mooncloth meant you could keep your raid alive, and whether or not YOU stayed alive was your own business – weren’t you the healer??

As a result, many, many healy-Priests (myself and Matt included), worked their way into T6-level content with dramatically less stamina than recommended. For me, especially given the pressure-cooker of being the first and only female in my hardcore raiding guild, it meant I had to learn to stay alive. This is the origin of the “Oh s***!” macro, and why my UI is painstakingly designed to keep my field of vision clear.

My point is, I’ve done the content that the Priests asking about Primal Mooncloth have done – and I stayed alive. So I know it’s possible. So it bothers me to blame the prolific Priest-mortality rate on the gear and nothing else. If I wasn’t positive that people would feel attacked, accused, and offended, here’s what my response would be:

“Primal Mooncloth is perfectly adequate for the content you’re running. Rather than worrying about what gear to exchange to boost your stamina, let’s treat what I think is the real problem. Tell me about your raids: What’s killing you? Loose mobs, or AoE damage?”

And working from there, I’d like to go through a trouble-shooting dialogue. If loose mobs are running around and slaying healers, either your Tanks need to work on tanking, your CC needs to work on CC’ing, your DPS needs to work on not breaking CC, or YOU need to work on heal-timing. These are all very important skills, and, often, healer-deaths are simply symptomatic of underperforming raiders.

If AoE damage is killing you, then you simply need to learn how to keep yourself healed.

  • Do you have PW:S and Inner Fire up at all times?
  • Are you using profession-related bonuses appropriately? (Fel Blossom, Nightmare seed, Bandages – yes really)
  • What kind of consumables do you bring? (Stam + Spirit food, Super/Major Rejuv potions)
  • Are you using the right cooldowns? (Healthstones, trinkets)

And the biggest one:

  • Are you fully playing your Priest? Priests are unique in the sheer variety of tools in our healbox. Binding Heal, Renew, CoH, ProH, Fade, and ProM (and Desperate Prayer, if you have it), will ALL keep you alive. In fact, they are designed to keep you alive. Priests can and should be able to heal themselves without ever neglecting their duty to the rest of the raid.

It’s not that good Priests never die – Spirit of Redemption points out that Blizz KNOWS we’re going to die. It’s that the best Priests know that gear is not the major limiting factor in your performance. And as much as I advocate using the best gear available to you, it should be to augment your skill as a player, not to replace it.

Notice: I hesitated to post this entry, for the same reason that I hesitate to reveal my real answer to the pertinent gear-question. I realize that my opinion will hurt some feelings, and it is not my intention to imply that people looking to break PMC with any of the numerous options in the post 2.4 game are bad players.  It is my intention to imply that perhaps, as a community committed to improving our gameplay, our first instinct shouldn’t be to swap gear, but rather to ascertain how we can out-perform our pixilated limitations. If, after determining the REAL cause of death, we find a certain stat to be lacking, then we can recommend gear to augment that stat.


11 thoughts on “Primal Mooncloth – Do You Need to Upgrade?”

  1. Very much like the “do you need a shadow priest” question… If you do, it’s usually indicative of a larger issue. However, I’m never going to refuse one.

  2. Well, I’m another Holy Priest that will agree with you (Melchizedeck on Moonrunner). I’m not a big raider, but I know plenty of people who are progressing nicely and haven’t replaced their PMC set yet. A lot of it does go to how good the raid is at everyone doing their jobs. I’ve ran with some groups where the tank couldn’t hold aggro on a mob if he was given steel chains and a padlock, and I’ve been in those exact same instances with tanks that know what to do and I never have to dodge any break-away mobs. It all depends on people paying attention.

    What I’d suggest is to look at your other gear, like your weapon. Gavel of Naaru Blessings is a great badge mace, and though it takes a while to get, +42 stam is great.

  3. I think the new badge-loot is just another way of fast-forwarding people into new content through “easier” to obtain gear. This leads to people being less experienced at what they do, because the gear they’ve obtained leaves more room for error.

    Don’t think I’m bashing others: this is purely from my own experience. I don’t raid (live in EU, play on US) and only rarely go to Kara or the like. Tuesday I was in a group, grabbing 40% of the healing with a druid and shaman also healing. Most of the times the group I was in (I live in PUGland) would skip Nightbane, but this time we went for it. So that was the, what, second time I’ve seen that fight?

    So I draw aggro after airphase by renew-ticks.. I eat an 8.2k-or-so hit.. And live, because I have 8.3k from gear, MOTW, Kings and an Imp. That’s just bad playing on my part, but the raid isn’t punished for my mistake..

  4. I must admit that I think people sometimes get stuck in a rut with their gear and stats. You need good +heal sure, but you also need your int, spirit and enough stamina to avoid being one-shotted. We’ve done most of Kara loads and are just starting on ZA (not enough people to do 25-mans) and I’m still in PMC, but my stamina is quite good.

    How? I’ve got +stamina gems (along with my yummy +spirit gems) and a couple of +stamina enchants and +stamina buff food. My +heal could be much, much higher than it is, but it is perfectly adequate for the content we are doing – so I have instead prioritised having enough stamina that even if I get hit really hard I usually retain enough of a sliver of health that I can heal myself and continue the fight. I have also focused on spirit to keep me in the game without going OOM.

    Most gear checking sites like be.imba or similar, will tell you to put in healing gems and healing enchants on everything, but you need to think about whether that is right for you considering the rest of your gear and the content you are doing.

    Like you said Wyn, it’s not just the gear, it’s how you gem and enchant it and use foods/elixirs etc. Everytime I get a new piece of gear I will look over my gems and enchants and see if it would make sense to swap anything. I think people sometimes stare themselves blind on swapping individual pieces of gear rather than have a holistic strategy for gear/gems/enchants/food.

    Tufvas last blog post..Levelling and the expansion

  5. EXCELLENT POST, WYN!!! There is NOTHING wrong with PMC, all the way up through T5. Sure, if you can get better, then that’s great. For instance, I’ve broken my PMC set with my T4 shoulders.

    In my particular case, my Mp5 is fine, my mana regen is never a problem, and I only go OOM when a lot of other things are going wrong.

    Am I in a hurry to complete the swap-out from PMC? Not at all! Do I need more stam? Yep, no question: I think 8K health unbuffed is a reasonable expectation for TK, but you know what? I’m doing just fine in there with my paltry 7.5K.

    Did I mention PoH & Binding Heal are my #4 & #5 spells by number of casts? Because I DO make sure that after my tank(s), I’m #1 on my target list.

    Once again, wonderful post, Wyn.

  6. well this is all well and good and I will agree with you that its enough for me…BUT…when I get unceremoniously booted from a pug because I don’t have enough health to suit them….it gets to me…same with mana…I am very very efficent…rarely ever ever go oom….yet I have been told I have to have more mana…now this is not everyone don’t get me wrong….but it does get annoying when you see “removed from group’ before the run even starts


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