This weekend on a whim I levelled my Gnome Priest from eighty-eight to ninety and have been derping around the Timeless Isle and feeling ridiculously underpowered in any and all group content. It turns out a hundred item levels is a pretty massive power deficit.
I've been pleasantly surprised at how fun Shadow is. It's really not too DoT heavy, and has plenty of instants for movement. I've always complained about multi-dotting, but it's so powerful that I've started liking it. Priests are squishy as hell! I've been making heavy use of speed bubble and renew just to stay alive against larger elites.
Discipline healing has a fantastic niche in Power Word: Shield. I think of it as a universal stop-someone-from-dying button, and Penance backs it up nicely as an instant heal. And... that's about it. Everything else is a two second cast, during which you just sit and wait for your cast bar to move. Coming from a Monk who can start casting an efficient heal and then transform it into a huge heal mid cast, watching my Various Heal casts slowly drip out seems underpowered and really unresponsive. In a truly dangerous healing environment the situation can and will change in the two seconds it takes to cast a spell.
Any raid healer knows the way to make your number bigger is to focus on AoE healing. Unfortunately Discipline's AoE is really terrible.
I've talked about Prayer of Mending before: I called it a "dumb" heal. As opposed to a smart heal which heals the person who needs it most, the dumb heal will choose someone who doesn't need it and do nothing until it expires. But it's still mana-efficient most of the time so I use it on CD.
Prayer of Healing is the "direct" AoE heal. It's quite powerful, but has the utterly bizarre restriction of only hitting people in the same party group as the target. If this spell was designed today there is no question it would use smart healing to choose targets. Instead, I have to rejigger my interface so I can see who is in which party. How has this vanilla WoW bullshit survived so many expansions?
I might try Holy eventually, but I'm enjoying Disc for the moment despite all the whinging. Somewhat ironically (if you know me) I've been mostly ignoring the other of Discipline's strengths, Atonement healing through damage. I think I'll get to it eventually... I'm finding the main healing spells challenging enough to master for the moment. I'll keep working on my gear and hopefully soon do some 25-man Priest healing with my guild's alt raid.
On the Monk front, I'm finally done with the Island, which has left me without much to do. I suppose this explains the Priest.