My first reaction to the news was utter, stunned silence. Anyone who’s ever been on vent with me (or listened to a certain blogcast) knows how rare that is. There were no words to encompass my shock and depression.
“Why?” I will be asked. “Racials were so stupid. We were the only class that had to worry about what race to roll to THAT extent. This will make things much easier.” Perhaps. But I am a Priest-class enthusiast. I have two level 70 Priests. One Human, one Troll. I have a handful of Priest alts just to experience the flavor that their new spells give. (Starshards is so Pretty!!) I am not a role-player, but I would find it impossible to not spend so much time with someone without learning a little about their personality, and I somehow don’t think any of my Priests will be the same without abilities shaped so directly by the life-experiences they had before I met them. How can you be a faith-leader for your faction, a student of the Light and Shadow, without developing a few personal opinions?
And so it is with a desperately heavy heart, a crinkle in my nose, and tears in my eyes that I say farewell to Hex of Weakness and Shadowguard. Admittedly, Renwein will not miss Feedback – we didn’t use it much – but Wynthea will no longer mock Paladins and less-gifted Priests as they attempt to dispel the curse preventing their heals’ full value. No more will I have a funny little purple satellite for company, which had a clever habit of proc’ing Shadow Weaving and Blackout when I was Shadow-spec’d. Maybe I’m taking it too hard. I probably am. I just looked forward to levels 10 and 20 so much with each new race…. and now it won’t matter. My lowbie Priests will be deleted, since they serve no purpose.
Frankly, this latest blow to my class-pride hits a little harder because of how I feel about Priests’ role in general. Go dig up your classic-wow handbook. The one that hasn’t been updated, that still comes with the game. See where it describes the classes? It talks about Priests being the premiere healers in WoW. That’s why I rolled my first one 3 years ago. It’s why I’ve stayed with the class for so long. Other classes can do other things – Paladins and Druids can also tank, all the other healing classes can Melee DPS, and Shammies and Druids both can caster-DPS as well. Sure you can go Shadow – but Blizz has pigeonholed Shadow Priests into raid utility and mana-return. (In my opinion, if Shadow Priests were supposed to be competitive on DPS, Mind Flay would have a 40 yd. range like everyone else’s bread-and-butter spells. Among other things.) Shadow Priests have to fight tooth-and-nail for every scrap of damage and respect they get. Holy Priests…. well, we were what the class was originally designed to be. That’s why classic Tier sets were all Holy-based. Priest was synonymous with healer.
But now, Druids are gaining a circle-of-renew. Paladins if glyphed properly will be able to AoE heal. Shamans have raid-wide utility, in addition to the original work-horse AoE heal. And Priests? The spell we and our raids have come to depend on is being given a 6-second cooldown. (That’s right, all the new patch notes show that that abominable nerf that went away on the Beta realms is BACK and going LIVE.) Take a look at the new Priest Healing spells: we get TWO.
Divine Hymn – You recite a Holy hymn, causing the closest 10 enemies within 0 yards to become incapacitated for 20 sec., and heals the closest friendly targets within 0 yards for 4506 over 6 sec. 20% of base mana, 1.5 sec cast, 3 min cooldown.
and our 80-point talent: Guardian Spirit – Calls upon a guardian spirit to watch over the friendly target. The spirit increases the healing received by the target by 40%, and also prevents the target from dying by sacrificing itself. This sacrifice terminates the effect but heals the target of 10% of their maximum health. Lasts 10 sec.
All our other talents are focused on increasing the amount healed by spells we already have, or the speed with which they are delivered. (oh, wait, that got nerfed a bit, too.)
In the rush to make every spec viable, and to homogenize the capabilities of the classes to avoid any specific requirements for any given raid…. Blizzard hadn’t stripped Priests of what made us special – our flexibility as healers – but added those utility spells to the other healers. This latest news goes further – rather than leaving us with our level 70 spells in a level 80 world, it actively takes away MORE of what makes us unique.
I will continue on. I am still very excited about a lot of things coming up in Wrath. The scenery continues to be beautiful, and Dalaran is the best-developed capital city ever. But now, my unbridled enthusiasm for the xpac is tempered by a sense of loss. I reveled in being the strongest, most adaptable healing class, and the class which, in my opinion, required the most fore-thought, planning, and knowledge of game-mechanics of all. I’m sad that both of the sources of my loyalty to the class are eroding. Perhaps it’s a good thing I’ve familiarized myself with Death Knight mechanics.
A very depressed Wyn