5 Killer Priest Changes Coming in Warlords

5 Killer Priest Changes Coming in Warlords

Good gravy, so many new changes coming with the alpha notes! Instead of going through all of them, I’m just going to summarize my favourites. You can turn to BlizzPro later in the week for a more in-depth analysis.

Atonement nerfs

Don’t tell me you didn’t see this coming. For almost the entire expansion, Discipline Priests were considered top tier and a virtual must have in progression focused guilds. It wasn’t so much the temporarily healing buff from Evangelism, but the Archangel ratios which made us a force to be reckoned.

Let’s deal damage with any of our main DPS nukes. On top of that, a portion of the damage done is going to also heal. Oh and it’s a smart heal!

In a way, I’m disappointed that it’s lowered but I can’t help but think it’ll help equalize the state of healing classes a little more. At the very least, maybe it’ll lower Discipline representation some and allow us Holy Priest guys back into the fray as a better alternative. There was nothing really wrong with Holy (well, there was but we’ll cover that in a moment), but Holy just wasn’t quite as well sought after.

That’ll be different in the future largely because of…

Chakra changes

Remember when Chakra came into play? It was almost two expansions ago during the start of Cataclysm. It essentially functioned as a stance for Holy Priests. Certain spells would become stronger depending on which Chakra you had active and you’d gain access to a Holy Word spell that corresponded with that stance. It was intended to provide flexibility and allow Priests to select the role they were going to perform in a raid: Single target healing or multi-target healing.

If you were in a Chakra stance and wanted to do something outside of the benefit, your spells wouldn’t make quite as an impact. The alpha notes said it quite clearly: The buff from being in a certain Chakra “felt like a penalty for being in the wrong Chakra, rather than a bonus for being in the right Chakra”.

Chakra: Sanctuary provided a strong buff to Prayer of Healing which was great when I was covering groups but it was lousy if I needed to spot heal the tank for a few moments. Lowering the bonuses attained in Serenity and Sanctuary are a start. Saying “I’m only losing 10% of a healing boost instead of a 25% bonus” is much more reassuring. Instead, Holy Word: Serenity and Sanctuary are receiving more of a healing bonus. I suspect our normal baseline spells will be adjusted and balanced accordingly.

Removal of Mana Hymn

Gone.

Just like that.

How else am I supposed to get my mana back? One of our healing utilities is out the window as a victim of Blizzard’s crackdown on ability bloat. Now they’ve promised that mana regeneration rates and spirit will be monitored to offset the loss of Hymn of Hope. Now I’m really at the mercy of my own healing spells. I can’t heal full throttle and rely on Mana Hymn to provide me with a cushion anymore. I’m going to miss it.

New glyphs

To be more specific, I’m giddy with Glyph of Restored Faith. It can be used as an escape or a closer or if I just want to get next to someone. Maybe it isn’t that killer, but I really do like the fun I can get with this. I can pull myself out of harms way if I’m caught standing in a fire! It’s like a pseudo defensive cooldown!

Level 100 talents

You can find the new talents at the recently updated WoW Head calculator. I liked that old talent with Void Shift where you could use it as many times as you wanted but I guess that one was tossed.

Now there’s healing talents when you reach level 100 like Words of Mending. Every healing or absorb spell generates a stack of Word of Mending. Hit 5 stacks, cast a free Prayer of Mending! Worried about Prayer of Mending overriding itself? A minor change was introduced where Prayer of Mending from multiple Priests are able to be applied on the same target. Not only that, one Priest can have multiple applications of Prayer of Mending on more than one target!

I mean, yo dawg! I heard you like Prayer of Mending! So I put a Words of Mending on your Prayer of Mending so you can Prayer of Mending while you Prayer of Mending!

Holy Priests gain access to another talent called Clarity of Purpose. It replaces Prayer of Healing with a new spell called Clarity of Purpose. We know that smart healing spells are getting dumber. But if healing spells were given an IQ, I’m certain Clarity of Purpose would take home the smartest heal ever award. It’ll heal players within 10 yards of your target. Not only that, it splits the heal so that weaker players receive more of the healing pie.

Now that’s legit!

This is going to be a fun beta testing period. Warlords needs to come soon! I’ll do my best to keep track of any pertinent Priest changes and updates as we progress through the development stages of the expansion.

Serenity and Renew Buffs

You might have noticed that within this recent ~20 GB beta patch that Renew and Serenity gained some buffs.

  • Chakra: Serenity healing increased by 70%
  • Rapid Renewal (New): Your Renew heals for an additional 15%, instantly heals the target for 15% of the total periodic effect, and has a 0 second reduced global cooldown.

But what you might not know is that being in Serenity increases Renew by an additional 15%. A minor update was given to Serenity so that the single target healing buff (from spells like Flash Heal and Greater Heal) now applies to Renew. This component of Serenity is effective as of the current build as it apparently wasn’t in place before. I didn’t notice until it was pointed out to me by @KelestiMMO. Thanks!

Health restored

Discipline Holy Holy (Serenity)

5230

7998

9199

Speaking of Serenity, it got mad buffed. Hits super hard now (From 7900 + 76.2% spell power to 13400 + 130% spellpower).
Oh Chakra, How You’ve Changed

Oh Chakra, How You’ve Changed

Keybinds.

So many keybinds.

Another expansion means more new spells and abilities and we’re gradually running out of keys to use. Chakra’s been split three ways now. As you know, the corresponding bonus you get from Chakra is decided base on what spell you use immediately after Chakra has activated.

Now you can just activate whichever Chakra you want by hitting a button.

So on the one hand, that’s nice because you don’t have to rely on spell selection anymore to get the Chakra you want.

Question: No more fat fingering the wrong spell and being in the wrong Chakra stance. Hands up! How many times did mistakenly  you hit Prayer of Mending after casting Chakra and being in Chakra: Sanctuary instead of being in Chakra: Serenity specifically for a phase?

On the other hand, now I have to find a way to free up more keys for the individual Chakra bonuses. I figure I can just stick to Chakra: Serenity and Chakra: Sanctuary. Not sure how often I’d use Chakra: Chastise unless I’m leveling.

Atonement Priests in Mists

Atonement Priests in Mists

Edit: As of build 15640, Atonement is no longer a glyph or a talent. It appears to be a baseline ability built into Discipline and will not be accessible to Holy. Discipline Priests will learn it at level 60.

Plan on going Atonement? The process has changed.

For starters, Atonement isn’t something you talent into anymore. Instead, all the relevant abilities are located in your glyphs (See the above screenshot).

Atonement presently takes up a Major glyph slot. For it to continue being a strong style of healing for Priests, you’ll need to grab Glyph of Smite. You could grab Glyph of Holy Fire but it doesn’t seem to be as important. In order to be an Atonement priest, you must have the Atonement glyph and the Smite glyph. The Holy Fire glyph makes the spell instant but might not be a necessity depending on the encounters.

Not quite sure how I feel about moving Atonement from talents to glyphs. I understand what the move was made: So that Priests could really pick out their talents without feeling they had to force themselves down one route. At the same time though, limiting it to a glyph means that Atonement Priests don’t have as much flexibility either when it comes to glyph selection. I’d wager that you’d still have to grab Archangel in order to remain competitive.

The bright side is that you can go Atonement as Holy.  Chakra: Chastise increases the potency even further.

That third glyph slot?

You could go with the Glyph of Circle of Healing or Glyph of Penance as your two spec stapes.

There hasn’t been much change to the style of healing. If you’re comfortable playing Atonement right now, you should have no difficulties heading into the expansion. At least you can set up a specific glyph page just for Atonement.

Leveling as Smite spec? Still good to go (I’ve been doing it from 85 – 87).

Will you be giving Atonement a shot in Mists?

Mists: Spirit Shell, Chakra, and Party Healing

Mists: Spirit Shell, Chakra, and Party Healing

Blizzard issued another 100,000 invites today and I was lucky enough to get in. Derevka from Tales of the Priest also has the Mists beta enabled. I’m sure between the two of us we can help answer any Priest questions you might have (Save all the math and theorycrafting for him).

Biggest grin inducing experience though?

I SMITE FOR OVER 40,000 DAMAGE

On Spirit Shell

On the tanks

Spirit Shell is the new Discipline Priest “heal” (the 2.5 second cast that’s supposed to be mana neutral).

Something feels really off about it. it feels ineffective. I get that it’s used to maintain health of players. It’s the filler spell. But it’s a delayed heal. In a sense, I should feel the same using Heal and using Spirit Shell. But I find that the mobs and bosses just punch through Spirit Shell fairly quick. Since the shield gets broken, the heal aspect never applies (Since 80% of a broken shield is still going to be 0). Tanks aren’t gaining any real health with Spirit Shell.

When using Heal, I can see the physical health bar bounce up and down between heal received and damage taken. Spirit Shell causes the tank health bar to stay around the same or to gradually decrease. I rely heavily on visual bar movement to gauge how much time left before the tank or my party gets smashed. It’s really hard to gauge the buffer I have when using Spirit Shell.

Video of me wiping once on the first boss before taking him out on attempt 2.

 

I’m not sure if that’s a UI thing or just a priest thing (or a Matt thing). 8 seconds seems like an eternity before a heal gets applied. In a way, I feel as if though I get penalized in a heavy damage environment. Holy sees immediate dividends in when those healing spells are used because you can actually seeplayer health bars move. Discipline doesn’t (with the shields) and we’re left wondering if our shields are still active or if they’ve been punched through or not.

Yeah, there’s a spell graphic thats applied on players. But aren’t your eyes glued to your frames?

On the party

I could throw a Renew on players and they’d get enough healing on them or I could also throw a Spirit Shell and wait the 8 seconds for that to expire for the heal component to apply. Renew, I can use on the run. Spirit Shell leaves me vulnerable. I understand that they’re meant for different purposes, but in this sense, Spirit Shell can be used as a fire-and-forget kind of ability on that Mage who took damage but isn’t expected to take damage again for the next 30 seconds or something.

I’m not sure what it is. The spell’s a great idea and all. But in practice, something doesn’t feel right when healing in instances. I think there should be a minimum floor that the heal of Spirit Shell does (Heals for 80% after absorb expires, otherwise it heals for 20% of the initial absorb amount).

Chakra

chakra

Have to free up some more binds somewhere. Chakra: Serenity and Chakra: Sanctuary are separate abilities and need to be key bound separately. No more having to activate Chakra and cast Prayer of Mending to auto switch to Sanctuary.

Party healing

Admirable job with the balancing of regen and throughput. Temple of the Jade Serpent was fairly brisk the first way through after queuing with a group of random players. I’m queuing in with a mix of normal and heroic Dragon Soul gear (395 Item level, give or take). Raid geared players won’t have much of a problem with it all. Just don’t stand in the water and watch out for fires.

For reference, quest rewards in the opening zone are 372 greens.

Chakra: Renew is Gone

Chakra: Renew is Gone

Note: the tooltips in the quoted text boxes do not reflect the current changes to the abilities they describe.

Since 4.0.1 changes were even announced, I was overwhelmed with anticipation to try a Holy spec. Now, I’ve been Discipline since before Wrath of the Lich King dropped, and I’ve loved the entire playstyle (minus that “bubble spam” thing). When I saw the Chakra ability, as well as the corresponding Holy Word: Chastise states, I started to digitally salivate. I’ve always enjoyed classes that had a wealth of abilities to use (which is why I never rolled a Paladin — KIDDING!!). In the “lame duck session” before Cataclysm, I’ve been experimenting with the new playstyles and adapting to the new juicy mechanics that have been laid out for us. Chakra Heal has potential to be real potent. Chakra Prayer of Healing offers a beautiful and useful “stand in the good” zone, as well as an AoE Healing buff. Chakra Smite has been amazing for farming meat, mats, or anything else for which I need to “nuk da mobz”.

Chakra Renew has been a bit ambiguous to me. I understand that Renew is a very powerful tool in a certain-specced Holy toolbox, but its implementation into Chakra kind of baffled me. Now, I *like* to think I’m a pretty creative guy, but I just couldn’t really see the use or fun in it. Maybe it’s because I come from a Discipline playstyle, but I didn’t see a need to constantly spam renew beyond just blanketing my 10man raid. Well, we were given this nugget of info (thanks MMO-Champion):

  • Chakra no longer works with Renew. No longer costs mana. Sanctuary (Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending) now increases healing done by your AoE spells and Renew by 15%. (Old – Only increased AoE spells by 10%)
  • Effectively, they’ve killed Renew’s exclusivity with Chakra and teamed it up with Prayer of Healing, adding in Prayer of Mending, too. You’ll get more healing out of Renew, but remember that you have to activate it with Prayer of Healing or Mending. You cannot activate your steroid-juiced HoT by hitting that Renew key. Patience, grasshopper.

    Because of this change, our State of Mind talent has been altered:

  • State of Mind no longer affects Renew, affects Prayer of Mending instead.
  • Now, I use Prayer of Mending almost always on cooldown out of habit. Adding this into extending that Chakra state will benefit a lot of Priests out there. If the best play for a certain encounter is to keep that Chakra going, I’m not too big a fan of spamming one button to extend it. I think a change like this could also be implemented in our Heal Chakra or Smite Chakra. Only add one additional spell to extend it. Chakra Heal could also be extended by Greater Heal, a spell that we don’t really spam anyways. Chakra Smite could be lengthened by Holy Fire as well, since it’s impossible to spam it while it’s on cooldown. Here’s an image of the new tooltips (thanks, Matticus!):

    All in all, I’m pleased with the change. As it stands right now, I don’t use Renew Chakra as it is and didn’t see much use in the future. However, as would be my luck, I’ll step into that first Cataclysm raid encounter and think, “Man! I wish I had Chakra Renew back for this fight!” C’est la vie.

    Do you feel the alteration of Chakra and State of Mind are changes for the better or worse? Are you going to miss the Renew Chakra?

    Understanding New Talents and Thoughts on Priests

    Last week, it was announced that talent trees would get sliced. Reason being that there was too much unnecessary crap and not enough fun talents. Most of us sort of got the idea of what they wanted to do. Include more talents that do something tangible, that we can feel or use.

    Potentially free Lightning Bolt after casting a Lightning Bolt? Cool.

    Gradually increasing healing by some random percentage of which you can’t really see? Not quite as exciting.

    Preview the new trees and see what they’ll look like

    How specialization works

    Okay, so the way I understand it, the moment you ding level 10, you get to start specializing your character. The moment you invest your first talent, you get access to a myriad of spells and abilities which define that particular tree.

    Let’s use a Priest for example.

    As Holy

    I get access to:

    • Desperate Prayer
    • Holy Priest (Pushback reduction on discipline and holy spells)
    • Meditation

    As Discipline

    I get access to:

    • Penance
    • Pushback resistance
    • Meditation

    From what I can see, no special training is required. You are well on your way to becoming that specialized priest of your choice. There won’t be any 20/21 type builds either. You need to fully invest your points down one tree before you can fork over to a different one. The rate at which you receive talents points have been roughly halved as well. Figure you get a new point every 2 or maybe 3 levels.

    What do I think?

    My opinion though, I’m not sure what can be done to entice players to select holy at the lower levels. I notice a few sad face Priests when they notice that Desperate Prayer is the innate spell we get. Desperate Prayer makes the most sense for balance and logistical reasons (like what’s the point of getting Circle of Healing at level 10?) At that stage of the game, you’re hardly doing much in a party anyway. At least with the prayer, you can fire off a desperate heal if you pulled one too many murlocs.

    I can’t count the number of times where I could’ve easily leveled the murlocs and their huts if I had access to Desperate Prayer.

    Anyway, I can certainly see the foundation of Holy taking place. I’m trying to remember what the original 41 point talent was back in vanilla (Spirit of Redemption? Lightwell?). Now if they can just somehow throw in something new in place of Renew or Empowered Healing at the first level under Holy. What would be a decent ability at that level?

    Holy seems quite top heavy in the sense that any of the deeper talents could easily fulfill the role as the 31 point talent. Guardian Spirit is the current one. Circle of Healing used to be the end talent back during Burning Crusade, if memory serves. I wouldn’t mind seeing Chakra and Guardian Spirit switched. From a symbolic perspective, I think a talent like that which gives your spells nifty bonuses whenever you string them together should be an ultimate skill.

    But that’s inspired from assorted limit breaks from Final Fantasy.

    From a logistical and practical standpoint? It might be better off if priests get a feel for Chakra earlier in their leveling life.

    The Discipline side of things looks great! Power Word: Barrier as the 31 pointer? Awesome. It appears that Discipline is destined to be the leveling spec (due to Evangelism and Archangel).

    One thing I noticed is the placement of Inner Focus. At 11 points in, it will not be accessible to Holy priests. I don’t know if that’s intentional or not. Inner Focus has been one of those taken-for-granted type talents that all healing priests usually get. For it to be cut off like for those that choose the path of Holy is going to be quite the impact. Here’s hoping it gets switched with Archangel.

    Anyway, I like the direction the talent condensation is going. Obviously they’re not all complete or finalized yet. Some classes still have a few placeholders or leftover talents from live that aren’t supposed to be there.

    Now I don’t know about you, but I’m going to have a heck of a time figuring out which healing priest type I want to switch to. I’ll probably end up dual speccing both anyway. I might just go back to my roots and be straight up holy again in the expansion.

    How are you liking the talents so far? (And it doesn’t have to be restricted to just priests either)!