Thursday, February 5, 2009

Priest Changes!

So, I'm going to be fancy and link the posts because I'm so excited, but odds are you've heard of all the really awesome stuff going on behind the scenes at Blizzard. I'm going to start by discussing the changes that affect priests only.

  • Divine Spirit – this spell is now a core ability available to all priests.
  • Discipline has access to a new talent, Power Word: Barrier. (Think of it as Power Word: Shield for your whole group).
  • Several area of effect (AOE) heal spells have been improved: Prayer of Healing can be cast on any groups in your raid party. Holy Nova’s mana cost has been reduced. Circle of Healing now heals for more.
  • Shadow priest PvP survivability has been improved: Shadow Form now reduces magic as well as physical damage. Dispersion now removes snares.
  • Penance – this spell can now be targeted on the priest.
  • Serendipity – this talent now reduces the cast time of Greater Heal and Prayer of Healing when Binding Heal or Flash Heal are cast.
  • We are also working to give Holy additional PvP utility.
I am most excited about two changes: the idea that Disc is getting an AOE bubble (although I would love it even more if it was for the whole raid instead of just the group), and the fact that they're making Prayer of Healing targetable to other groups. Yay! Let's talk about this stuff a little more indepth.
  • Divine Spirit – this spell is now a core ability available to all priests.

This is nice because it's something that priests have wanted for a long time. I mean, around the expansion, a large percentage of posts on the official forums where all "GIVE PRIESTS DS AS BASELINE OR YOU FAIL!" It's a very nice buff since so many classes actually use spirit now, and raids seem to actually *miss* it when it's gone.

  • Discipline has access to a new talent, Power Word: Barrier. (Think of it as Power Word: Shield for your whole group).
SRSLY?! I would like it better if the spell... say... worked with the raid as a whole instead of just the priest's group. Or like the new Prayer of Healing change (which I will get to) you can target groups. I was thinking something along the lines of what the Death Knight's Anti-Magic Zone was, but physical damage instead of magical damage prevention. I think it just makes me happy imagining a huge glowing golden bubble and all my friends cowering underneath it. I'd probably macro "YOU SHALL NOT PASS" to it. Cuz I'm a dork.
  • Several area of effect (AOE) heal spells have been improved: Prayer of Healing can be cast on any groups in your raid party. Holy Nova’s mana cost has been reduced. Circle of Healing now heals for more.

This is really cool, too. Now I'll have to think harder about whether to glyph Prayer of Healing or Holy Nova. Glyphed Holy Nova heals almost as much as Circle of Healing with a lower coefficient, so it doesn't scale as well (I think). Glyphed Prayer of Healing adds a HoT component which could be nicer for chaining Prayers because it allows for the group to still be healed a little while you're winding up that long 2.5 second cast (significantly less with enough haste + Borrowed Time). I'm super happy since I was seriously super fail at raid healing. Now I will be slightly less fail. Something in there for our Holy brothers, too. Grats =]

  • Shadow priest PvP survivability has been improved: Shadow Form now reduces magic as well as physical damage. Dispersion now removes snares.

... There's a third priest spec?

  • Penance – this spell can now be targeted on the priest.

This will only be cool iff (if and only if) the missiles go out a little then shoot back towards me... like a boomarang. My tank would never get healed because I'd be PEW PEWing myself in the face too much.

  • Serendipity – this talent now reduces the cast time of Greater Heal and Prayer of Healing when Binding Heal or Flash Heal are cast.

Uhm... in lieu of or in addition to the original affect? I personally don't think this will be a good change if it's in lieu of (in light of the upcoming out of 5SR regen nerf), but it could bring the hps up to be more competitive with Disc's (not better, because who can beat Shield->7k Penance->7k Greater Heal in under 3 seconds?). I'm thinking a few flash heals and your greater heal would eventually be the same cast time as a flash heal... and heal like a truck. I don't know. It depends on your playstyle.

  • We are also working to give Holy additional PvP utility.

If it's enough to make me not want to destroy the world, then you've got your work cut out for you. GOOD LUCK!

Now... Onto the regen post, which, honestly, I'm not too worried about. Why? Because it's mostly affecting healers who operate primarily outside of the 5SR. This is a long one, but I'm not going to be picking it apart like the last one.

  • Regeneration while not casting (outside of the “five second rule”) will be decreased. We think that (1) the ability to cast heal over time spells and then sit back and (2) benefitting from a clearcasting proc that also gets you out of the five second rule both provide too much mana regeneration, even over short time periods.
  • To make this change, we are reducing mana regeneration granted by Spirit across the board. However we are also boosting the effects of talents such as Meditation that increase regeneration while casting. The net result should be that your regeneration while casting will stay about the same, but your not-casting regeneration will be reduced. This change will have little impact on dps casters, since they are basically always casting.
  • The specific talents and abilities being boosted are: Arcane Meditation, Improved Spirit Tap, Intensity, Mage Armor, Meditation, Pyromaniac and Spirit Tap. Yes this makes these “mandatory” talents even more mandatory, if such a thing is possible.
  • Since paladins rely less on Spirit as a mana-regeneration stat, we have to address them in other ways. We don’t want to change Illumination or Replenishment. However, we are going to increase the healing penalty on Divine Plea from 20% to 50%. Divine Plea was originally intended to help Protection and Retribution paladins stay full on mana. It should be a decision for Holy paladins, not something that is automatically used every cooldown.
  • In addition, we are also changing the way Spiritual Attunement works. In situations with a large amount of outgoing raid damage, as well as in PvP, this passive ability was responsible for more mana regeneration than we would like. We want to keep the necessary benefit it grants to tanking Protection paladins, while making it less powerful for Holy paladins in PvP or raid encounters with a lot of group damage.
  • We are also taking a close look at clearcasting procs themselves. One likely outcome is to change them to an Innervate-like surge of mana so that the net benefit is the same, but healers won’t shift to out-of-casting regeneration so often.
  • We balance around the assumption that even 10-player groups have someone offering Replenishment. To make this even easier on players we are likely to offer this ability to additional classes, as well as make sure that existing sources of Replenishment are more equitable.
  • These changes are ultimately being done to bring the different healing classes more in line with each other as well as to give the encounter team more leeway when designing encounters, who can balance with these new mana regeneration numbers in mind. In a world with infinite healer mana, the only way to challenge healers is with increasingly insane amount of raid damage, so that global cooldowns become the limiting factor since mana fails to be. An example is the Eredar Twins in late Sunwell. We weren’t necessarily happy with that model, and this change hopefully allows us to move towards giving healing a more deliberate and thoughtful pace rather than frenetic spam.

So... What do I think about all this? I'm laughing a little. This is because, the changes that they are primarily making are changes to do with regen outside of the 5SR. Discipline priests, much like Holy paladins, operate mostly inside of the 5SR where most of our regen comes from Rapture and high mp5. Also, the nerfing of spirit-based regen will affect me little still since I have relatively low spirit (500-something as opposed to my intellect of 1k). Most disc priests seemed to already be leaning towards this conclusion (mp5 and Int is the way to go for good regen) but in light of these changes, discipline priests have no where else to go in my opinion. Also, the idea that Replenishment is a required buff kinda ticks me off, because some guilds don't have a Replenishment buffer (like mine), but I am excited to see that they're adding it to classes and have already announced one class that will be receiving the buff.

  • Improved Soul Leech – this talent now provides Replenishment (similar to shadow priests)

That would be a warlock talent, in case you didn't know. I'm not quite sure how this talent is going to work (since the talent an RNG based 30% to proc when casting certain spells), but the bottom line is that this is a buff to small guilds. They, understandably have a smaller number of possible specs to choose from and don't always have a Replenishment buffer. I could see them also possibly adding this benefit to Frost DKs (since they were looking for people to spec into it for DPS) and maybe Enhancement Shamans (because it just makes sense to me for some reason).

Dang. I think this is my longest post ever, and it's actually filled with valuable things. Go me!

1 comment:

bobturkey said...

I'm with you on the mana regen nerf. I think they'd be better trying a slight increase in base mana, ie making the spells a bit more expensive generally.

I can't beleive they are making Disc even better!!!!!! PW:B is exciting even if it turns out to be semi-useless.