Mists: Further Priest Changes on the Horizon

Mists: Further Priest Changes on the Horizon

Ghostcrawler commented on a Discipline feedback post earlier today.

To summarize the key points:

  • Confirmation that Spirit Shell is a spammable absorb that won’t be as powerful as Power Word: Shield. On beta, it fills the Heal role which is not very satisfactory. They are exploring the option of having it fill the Greater Heal position instead.
  • They’re exploring ways to bring Rapture back in.  However, they want it to scale with Spirit so that Discipline Priests don’t neglect Spirit on their gear.
  • Power Word: Barrier mana costs are comparable to Divine Hymn.
  • They’re exploring ways to reduce the mana cost of Mass Dispel but the spells is quite powerful and they’re considering the inclusion of a cooldown aspect.
  • Players running through dungeons and raids are saying they have problems casting big heals and they are looking into this problem.
  • The priest talents are still not finalized and will be undergoing further refinement.
  • Glyph of Penance sucks. Glyphs as a whole are incomplete and continue to be developed.

Personally, I find it refreshing to see GC back in action again offering glimpses into the world of game balance and the various developer thought processes. Rapture’s a way cool mechanic and all, but with the other changes and such, I’m not sure if finding a way to restore it back in Mists is a real priority.  Do you agree with the problems and solutions that are in the process of being implemented?

New Priest Talent: Feathers from Heaven

New Priest Talent: Feathers from Heaven

Feathers from Heaven replaces the previous Levitate talent that we had at level 30.

Feathers From Heaven
40 yd range

Place Heavenly Feathers at the target location. Each Heavenly Feather causes a single nearby friendly target to gain 60% movement speed for 4 sec.  Only 3 Feathers can be placed at one time.  Accumulates an additional charge once every 10 sec.

I place a feather on the ground. If a player runs near it, they get a temporary speed boost. Unlike Alysrazor, they don’t need to click it. They just need to be within range of it. You can not cast it around objects (line of sight issues). You can cast it while moving. So if you need to get somewhere really fast, just drop them in rapid succession to get you or a friendly player from point A to point B fast.

Since you’re limited to only 3 charges, you can’t use a whole stack of them one after the other. It takes time for it to recharge.

Here’s a direct link to check out the video.

Wha’cha think? Is this talent going to appeal to you? If it were live now, which bosses would you use it on?

How Spirit Shell Works

How Spirit Shell Works

During dungeons when Spirit Shell is fully absorbed, it is only healing for 1. Do you know if this is a bug or if they intend it to not heal the target when fully absorbed?

– Rave31211

Received a few comments and questions from people wondering about the use of Spirit Shell so I’ll do my best to clear it up some.

When Spirit Shell is on a player, it places a shield on them. After 8 seconds, the shield wears off. That player is healed for 80% of the absorb amount remaining.

If the shield gets completely absorbed, the player gets healed for a whopping 1 health point (I guess it rounds up). There’s a few problems with it right now:

  • It can’t crit
  • It’s a really long cast time for a low benefit
  • You can’t see the benefits in your raid frames
  • Doesn’t add Grace (Thanks FtenEQ)

Derevka has added his own thoughts on Spirit Shell and created a forum thread in the beta forums expressing feedback. I don’t expect this to be the final version.

Running Out of Mana? Here’s One Reason

Running Out of Mana? Here’s One Reason

My Google reader is set to examine various search terms allowing me to keep a pulse on what’s going out there with Priests. One search result that popped up on my reader involved a holy priest. Their problem was that they kept running out of mana. No matter what they did, they had a really hard time sustaining the necessary healing required for that instance.

Out of habit, I looked up their priest on armory.

Problem solved.

No enchants, no gems, or other augments.

It almost feels like really new players take for granted the power that augments provide their characters. Do you think Blizzard balances instances around the fact that your character should have enchants and such? Maybe the harder 4.3 ones, but not the entry level heroics.

Back to the story, it turns out I wasn’t the only one who spotted the lack of character investment. When others pointed it out, the player commented by saying they didn’t have the money to afford it.

At least they have an answer to the first problem.

New players, if you want to start hitting up the harder stuff, start investing. Even if you can’t afford a Power Torrent, you can probably snag a Heartsong. Can’t do 20 stats? Settle for 15. Don’t need 65 mastery when cheaper 50 haste options exist. No sense socketing an epic red gem on a blue quality item when a gren quality red gem will do the trick for now.

Even if they’re not the best improvements money can buy, at least they’re still an improvement.

 

Heroic Morchok Down: Where Next?

Heroic Morchok Down: Where Next?

Managed to score Heroic Morchok on Tuesday. Ended up using 6 healers. Another classic 22% wipe, then a 16% wipe, then a 13% followed by an 8% then a kill. Actually, the numbers aren’t precise. But that’s what it seemed like anyway.

How to Land 3 Healing Spells in Under 2 Seconds

It seems impossible, doesn’t it?

Note that I didn’t quite say I would cast 3 spells only that I would land them. You have to be precise when it comes to timing and you need to be ready to pounce on the next spell the moment the other one is finished.

We were working on heroic Morchok for a total of 6 – 8 hours (over 4 weeks, with raid hours lost due to a healer shortage). Our longest attempt was just under 6 minutes. Most of the wipes occurred between 2 – 3 minutes. The trickiest part for me was maintaining tank health right after a stomp. A common occurrence I noticed is that after Kohcrom stomped, he would attack the tank around 2 seconds later. If I timed it right, I could land a Flash Heal and a quick Holy Word: Serenity. But sometimes that wasn’t enough. I needed another way because those two spells just weren’t consistent enough. Sometimes the tank lived, sometimes he died. I wanted a better (and consistent) way in keeping that tank alive.

It all revolved around the Stomp.

After a few wipes, I realized the consistency of his melee swing following the stomp. I didn’t want to focus exclusively on the tank to the detriment of the group. But at the same time, if the tank dropped it was game over.

Timers from DBM gave me a 5 second count down on approximately when the stomp would land.

I ended up watching the animation of the stomp. The moment the foot start rising up, I’d target the tank and hit Prayer of Healing ensuring it would land just after Stomp connected with the group. This gave me time for a quick Flash Heal (Or Binding Heal) followed up with Serenity (or a Circle of Healing if the tank was sufficiently high enough.

Credits to

Lodur for gemming all strength reforging to Mastery giving him the ability to really stabilize players and allowing me to spike them back  up.

The DPS warriors on my side who picked up on the fact that when I frantically called their name, it meant I wanted a Rallying Cry (and giving us that buffer after a fumbled heal).

Logan of the LeetSauced podcast (and soon-to-be host of the Matticast) for remaining calm, collected and patient after enduring hours of frustrating incidents beyond his control.

Tanks with 4 piece bonuses. Seriously. More bonuses like this in the future.

Old Spice. I smelled awesome that raid.

Now what?

What’s the next hard mode boss that you went to after Morchok (25 man as I understand 10 man has different priorities)?

Hagara?

Ping pong guy?

Ooze boss?

Seems like we’re going to take a hard look at Hagara. Pointers?

Admit It: You Get High From Being Clutch

Admit It: You Get High From Being Clutch

gs-save

Ever wonder what it’s like to feel “high” in this game?

This is one of those methods.

I’d wager that Holy Priests get a bigger kick out of it then the other healers. Unlike the other clutch healing abilities, Guardian Spirit has two key effects: It offers both increased healing received on the target and the ability to grant a second chance in case the target dies.

Usually, when Holy Priests burn Guardian Spirit, it’s meant for the extra healing because of some massive amount of incoming damage.

But if tank health, your global cooldown, your lag and your reflexes all line up, then you just made a great save. The rest of the raid might not be aware of your efforts. But who cares? Deep down inside, you are the one that made that save and salvaged a possible kill from a definitive wipe.

It’s one of the best feelings in the World of Warcraft. I’ve never been able to score that feeling of satisfaction playing other healers. Sadly, whenever you do pull off the save, it ends up being a wipe. Seems rare whenever such a tank save results in a kill.

In any case, a new year means new responsibilities for people. Players have new priorities in their lives (or other games). My guild’s looking for 2 healers. I’m not picky on any classes. Yes, we’ll even consider Priests even though we have 3 right now. I would genuinely like the services of a Holy Paladin and a Resto Druid.

Priest Healing Talents for MoP – Which Would You Pick?

Priest Healing Talents for MoP – Which Would You Pick?

Been meaning to do this for a while. Wanted to analyze all the new proposed talents for the different healing classes to see which ones I would choose if I played that healer.

Priest talents

Matt’s choices

mop-talent-priest_thumb1

Level 15: Nothing. All various CC effects. May as well go with the bread and butter Psychic Scream.

Level 30: Nothing. All various movement effects. Probably Body and Soul for me in most cases.

Level 45: From Darkness, Comes Light would be my main selection. Depending on the encounter, strategy and positioning, Divine Star would be an excellent alternative. Not opposed to blasting the spell down one direction healing the group.

Level 60: Defensive, personal cooldowns here. Leaning heavily toward Desperate Prayer.

Level 75: Wow. This is the hardest selection to make. I think I would take Power Infusion. Not only could I use it on myself for extra healing speed but in the event I don’t need it, i can toss it onto another player. But Twist of Fate and Serendipity are both excellent choices. You really might not be able to go wrong with any of these choices.

Level 90: This would be the second hardest talent selection to make after level 75, I think. Vampiric Dominance offers the ability for you to splash or cleave heal your group. Void Shift* offers another single target cooldown. Vow of Unity is another modified single target cooldown which gives your healing spells a pseudo Binding Heal effect with the added bonus of redirecting half the damage your target takes to you. Void Shift wins!

* For those who are curious, due to the wording of the talent, I believe that the health percentage swap is only temporary. That is, if my target had 30% health and I had 100% health when I used Void Shift and I healed myself from 30% to 60%, the health pools would reverse again so that my target had 60% health and I would have his health percentage (before being healed for that additional 25%).

If the expansion were to come out today, I would be satisfied if these were the talents that came with it. It really does make you think. In some of these cases, there isn’t always a clear cut answer as a simple strategy change or a different encounter could lead to a radically altered talent choice. The latter talents are designed to really make you excel as a healer.

Skills

Where did Vampiric Embrace and Devouring Plague go? That was the first thing I noticed. Nice to see I get Lightwell folded into the Holy skillset without having to actually spec into it. Train of Thought received the same treatment as well. No word on what our level 85+ skills are. But I think Discipline is receiving the castable Shield past 85 at some point.

My thoughts on the rest of the healers will come later this week!

EDIT: WHERE DID PRAYER OF HEALING GO?!

How to Move and Heal

Do you know what one of the leading causes of tank death are?

Healers not being in range.

The other cause is not enough healing (ba-dum-tsch).

Whenever I jump into pickup raids or heroics as a DPS player, I am stunned at the inability of players to move and heal. This is an absolutely essential skill to have no matter what kind of healing class you play. We’ll go over a few tips to help get your confidence up to the point where you can effortlessly heal on the go. There aren’t any big secrets or special techniques. Much of it comes with foresight and experience.

Use your instant spells

HoTs, Renews, Shields, Ripties, Holy Shocks, and even Circle of Healing (Inefficient as it may be)! The moment they’re on the run, you need to be able to keep up with them. In most cases, you do not have to keep them at full health when they’re on the move. You just need to keep them alive with a nice margin of health. Instant spells are enough. Once they stop moving, start bomb healing them back to a comfortable level.

Hustle!

Body and Soul yourself. Switch to cat form. Ghost Wolf it. If you need to haul ass and you have a way of speeding up your movement, do it! Stop what you’re doing and move it!

Plan accordingly

Movement phases during raids can usually be planned in advanced. In the Lord Rhyolith encounter, tanks have to haul the ads from the middle of the room to the exterior. In Beth’tilac, large drones are manhandled to a preset location at the back of the room. If you know the rough location where the tank will be at, you can position yourself closer to that point to minimize your movement.

Leapfrog it

You move. Then they move. Then you move. Then they move. During Shannox, I’ll drop a Barrier on the tank and start moving in a pre-arranged direction. Once the Barrier falls off, they start coming towards me. We keep repeating this pattern where both the tank and the healer alternately move until we get to where we want to go.

Stand closer to them

Many of us have been trained to stay as far as possible away from a boss as DPS players to avoid different attacks or things on the ground. As a healer, being at max range can be a liability. The moment your tank moves the other way, you’re stuck playing catchup. Don’t be afraid of closing within 20-30 yards. This gives you additional flexibility and freedom for the tank.

Use your cooldowns

Even if they’re not taking large amounts of damage, a Pain Suppression of sorts can do wonders. If the tank needs to move, consider using a raid wide one like Divine Hymn or Tranquility. It’s like using a shotgun on a cockroach. It’s overkill, but it works. Wouldn’t recommend this unless you absolutely had no outs.

Have healers at different areas

If the tank is going in a predictable circle from point A to point B, have a healer at each point. The moment the tank comes into range of one of the healers, they’ll be under their responsibility. Don’t be afraid to call for help. If you can’t reach your main tank, say so. Hopefully there’s a healer nearby who will see the tank light up on their raid frames and switch to them until you’re back in range again.

Being vocal

Don’t be afraid to say things like “Stop moving” directly to your tank. If they can’t stop, at least they recognize that they’re on their own for a few seconds before you’re back in range of them. Work with them beforehand and arrange what will happen if the two of you aren’t in range of each other. Your tank can use that as a cue to use a potion or a Last Stand.

If you want some additional practice, step into some battlegrounds and participate in some PvP healing. Now it’s your turn. What other techniques would you suggest for healers on the go? Have any lessons or stories relating to healing and movement?

The Gradual Shift to Inefficient Healing

I actually had to read this a few times to make sure I was reading it correctly. I swear, blue language happens to take a language on its own entirely. It’s like lawyerspeak but for gamers. This is a passage taken from the Firelands Q&A that was released a few days ago.

Q: It can be anticipated that mana regeneration and maximum mana will increase from gearing up with the new Firelands equipment. Isn’t there a possibility that healers can spam big heals again (and more quick heals) just like in WotLK? If so, is there any plan to handle this without class nerfs? – Whitewnd (KR)

A: As damage increases, healers will need to use their largest, most inefficient heals more regularly to keep up. That’s fine and was all part of the design. We just didn’t want players to opt out of mana regeneration too early in the content because then Spirit (and mana-related procs) on gear wouldn’t be attractive, and because we’d have to balance difficulty by making the tanks die in a couple of GCDs if not healed continually. Most progression-oriented healers still want large amounts of Spirit, often in every single slot. As they get more comfortable with their mana, they’ll be able to replace some of that Spirit with other stats, but the Spirit will still be valuable; more Spirit on a set piece for example might mean being able to use a different enchant or reforge on another piece.

This is still a much better place to be than we were with Lich King content, where mana stopped mattering in the first raid tier. Aside from the mana changes we’ve already made to Innervate, Mana Tide Totem and paladin heals, we don’t think an overall regen nerf is necessary.

The first two sentences pretty much gave it away. We started the expansion heavily relying on triage healing to get things done and to be as efficient as we could. Heal was extensively relied on as our filler spell (for Priests). Other healing classes had the same. Drawing back from the previous years and expansions, we knew that as encounters got increasingly difficult, our gear levels would rise with it. The only constant here is mana cost. The mana cost of Flash Heal stays the same whether we’re working on Tier 11 or Tier 15. So we’re seeing a trend where Heal is going to gradually be rotated out of our spell usage in favor of high impact, inefficient spells – Largely because of necessity. It appears that in Firelands onwards, mana neutral spells can’t even be considered anymore.

For example, during the first part of the expansion, I relied on Heal as my filler spell. I was always casting something on players where damage was expected. Now I’m relying mostly on Renew as a filler spell for Holy. I’m hoping healing in the final tiers of Cataclysm aren’t going to be as mind numbing or stressing as they were in Icecrown Heroic. With higher health pools across the board for everyone, we should still have some time to react to incoming damage. Instead of dying in 1-2 shots, players would die in 3-5 shots.

This appears to be part of the design intent (Sentence two). Rising gear levels means larger mana pools and larger secondary stats. We’ll have much more flexibility when it comes to stat allocation. Right now, we need around 2100~ Spirit to function. The rest of it goes to your Mastery, Haste or Crit (Whatever tickles your fancy). From Firelands PTR testing, we’re going to need a little more Spirit for sure to be do our jobs. We’ll have much more stats to move around though.

Have you seen the Discipline numbers on the PTR? 40000+ Divine Aegis crits and absorbs (stemming from the 200% bonus to crit instead of 150%). I wonder if stacking crit and mastery is the way to go. Decisions, decisions!

Healing Priests in 4.1

Expecting an imminent patch drop! How are healing Priests stacking up? Pretty darn good actually.

No significant nerfs to Holy anywhere in 4.1. Some of our mechanics have changed slightly. Discipline suffered a slight nerf but gained buffs in other areas to the Atonement specs.

  • Power Word: Shield duration has been reduced to 15 seconds, down from 30.

Pre-emptive shielding continues to remain lucrative but the practice of shielding significant amounts of players in a raid is all but gone. In most logs, Power Word: Shield should be somewhere from 30% – 45% of the healing done due to the way it works and based on encounters as well as healing assignments. With the duration of it halved, the chances of it falling off unused become much higher. Discipline Priests will need to exhibit discipline and really make sure players get full benefits out of them.

Dispel mechanics have also changed slightly. Shadow Priests won’t be relied upon to dispel members in the raid anymore. It’ll be up to us to take care of it.

Holy

  • Absolution (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.
  • Chakra now lasts until cancelled, up from 1 minute.
  • Holy Word: Sanctuary healing done has been increased by 35%. In addition, it has a new spell effect.
  • Surge of Light can now also trigger from Binding Heal.

Chakra dancing is just about gone now. Your present Chakra state will last as long as you like. I guess they saw no need to keep mindlessly pressing keys to refresh your Chakra state. It’ll be easier for Holy Priests to stay in one Chakra stance from now on.

Sanctuary gets a huge buff. It’ll go from “Ugh, never use” to “Eh, I’ll use it when we all stack up”. PTR numbers looked promising, but without being able to put a raid together, I’ve never been able to gauge  how awesome it would be.

Discipline

  • Absolution (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.
  • Divine Aegis duration has been increased to 15 seconds, up from 12.
  • Atonement now works with Holy Fire in addition to Smite.
  • The direct damage portion of Holy Fire can now trigger Evangelism.
  • Power Word: Barrier’s cooldown has been increased to 3 minutes, up from 2, and its effect has been reduced to 25%, down from 30%.
  • It is now possible to remove Weakened Soul effects that were a result of another priest’s Power Word: Shield through Strength of Soul.
  • Holy Fire damage has been increased to be approximately 30% higher than Smite.

Atonement Priests get extra help now that it works with Holy Fire (at least, the direct damage portion of it). Not only that, Holy Fire gets buffed? I’m curious to see how this will play out in raids and if Atonement healing will become  more widely practiced.  

Power Word: Barrier gets nerfed with a cooldown increase along with  reduced effectiveness. Shouldn’t be too much of a bit hit. With Druid Tranquility cooldowns lowered and Shamans gaining access to the equalizer totem,  healing leaders now have much more options at their disposal.

Enjoy the patch! Looking forward to your thoughts when it goes live!