Atonement is a passive specialization ability for Discipline priests, available at level 38. It causes all damage from , and to heal a friendly target within 40 yards from the enemy for 90% of the damage dealt. The returning heal from Atonement is also affected by buffs/debuffs that affect healing.
Where possible, healing in this way will conserve mana, and allow the priest to DPS while healing, leading to faster kills.
When combined with and (see below), Atonement healing is one of the most mana efficient healing options for a Discipline priest, and is often the preferred option when damage is not too heavy. Alternating Atonement healing with more powerful healing options can allow the priest to conserve their mana while contributing significantly to the group's dps.
- Crits from Atonement healing will proc .
- Atonement healing is the only form of healing available to priests that requires a hostile target, and as such is the only form of healing not available between encounters. This also means the priest must be within range of the chosen hostile target in order to heal in this way. In some encounters this can require the priest to move closer to the hostile target (especially bosses) than they would normally choose to, especially as these spells have only a 30-yard range (including Penance, when used on hostile targets). Conversely, it is not necessary for the priest to be within range of the friendly target in order to heal them.
- Only friendly targets within 40 yards of the hostile target will be healed by Atonement. Although this is usually convenient for tank healing, attacking distant targets (such as ranged types) may cause the healing to be wasted.
- Atonement healing also requires the priest to be facing the hostile target in order to cast these spells, but does not require the priest to be facing any friendly targets in order for them to receive healing. However, when using macros to attack a friendly target's target, the unpredictable nature of the hostile target's location can prove confusing, and can briefly interrupt the priest's healing.
- Because Atonement healing automatically selects the target to heal, it is possible to repeatedly cast these spells at a single hostile target, while healing several different friendly targets. This removes the need to select each target, and because Smite's Atonement heals are fairly small, reduces the chance of overheal.
- Conversely, because Atonement heals are distributed automatically, the choice of target may not always align with the priest's priorities. Atonement will potentially heal any nearby low health friendly target, including pets, minions and guardians.
- The DoT component of Holy Fire will also proc Atonement, effectively providing a small HoT.
- Atonement works well with and . Evangelism significantly reduces the mana cost of the related spells and increases their damage, thereby increasing the amount of healing generated through Atonement, while Archangel can be used to grant a 25% buff to all healing.
- Atonement macros can be very useful. They can be used to allow the priest to continue targeting the tank while Smiting enemies, or even to automate the whole sequence into one button.
- When soloing mobs or players, Atonement is a great rotation for combined healing and dps. Although the healing is halved when received by the priest, it is still enough to reduce or even remove entirely the need to shield or heal, saving global cooldowns and so potentially increasing dps. However, priests using Atonement while under attack may still wish to use , if only to prevent pushback.
Patches and hotfixes
- Patch 5.3.0 (2013-05-21): Now heals nearby friendly targets for 90% of the damage dealt, down from 100%.
- Hotfix (2013-03-05): "Atonement healing granted from critical strikes now heal for the correct amount."
- Patch 5.1.0 (2012-11-27): Healing range increased to 40 yards, up from 15.
- Patch 5.0.4 (2012-08-28): Now also includes damage from Penance.
- Patch 4.3.0 (2011-11-29): Will now account for the target enemy's combat reach when calculating proper range, enabling it to be used on large creatures such as Ragnaros and Al'Akir.
- Patch 4.1.0 (2011-04-26): Now works with Holy Fire in addition to Smite.
- Hotfix (2011-01-05): "The heal from Atonement is now capped at 30% of the priest's health before any modifiers such as healing percentage bonus effects/talents."
- Hotfix (2010-12-21): "The healing effect from Atonement is now being affected by healing modifiers correctly."
- Patch 4.0.1 (2010-10-12): Added.