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.

Patch 5.4 Preliminary Priest Thoughts

Patch 5.4 Preliminary Priest Thoughts

General

  • Leap of Faith no longer has a facing requirement.

Say hello to the no-look life grip! I promise, I will only use this power against trolls. In all due seriousness, it’s a minor quality of life change. I can move and face the direction I want to go and not have to whip my camera around mid movement to pull a fellow player away from danger.

Talents

  • Angelic Feather now increases allies’ movement speed by 80%, up from 60% and the feathers have a duration of 10 minutes, up from 5 minutes.
  • Divine Insight for Discipline Priests now has a 100% chance to activate its effect after using Penance, up from 40%.
  • Twist of Fate’s damage and healing threshold to activate has been increased to 35%, up from 20%.

Angelic Feather change? Neat, I guess. Still not quite attractive enough in a raid setting. Too much effort, I think. Harder to work with on 25.

Power Infusion is the primary staple in the fifth talent tier (in most cases, anyway). Divine Insight triggered quite often for Holy Priests but not very often for Discipline. It should make it a little more lucrative. It’s essentially an extra Prayer of Mending Power Word: Shield on targets.

Twist of Fate change is agreeable. An extra 15% buffer means more frequent activations. Should come in handy in large, multi target ad fights for Shadow (like Primordius). It’s good news for raid-assigned healing priests (whack the mole with the lowest health first).

Shadow

  • Shadowform no longer reduces all damage taken by 15%.

Now I’m going to get two shot by Rogues instead of three. Sad smile

Class Armor

  • Restoration PvP 4-piece set bonus is no longer an area-of-effect and only affects the character that dispels Vampiric Touch.

Aaaaah, this might’ve been too strong in PvP. It was fun while it lasted, at least.

Tier 16 bonuses

  • Priest T16 2P Bonus (New) Serendipity also increases the healing of your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing by 50% per stack. While Archangel is active, your critical chance is increased by 10%.
  • Priest T16 4P Bonus (New) Circle of Healing and Prayer of Mending casts increase the effect of your next Holy Word spell by 50%, stacking up to 10 times. While Spirit Shell is active, you gain 10% haste and 3,500 mastery.
  • Priest T16 Shadow 2P Bonus (New) Shadowy Recall effects have their critical damage bonus increased by 100%.
  • Priest T16 Shadow 4P Bonus (New) Each Shadow Orb consumed for Devouring Plague increases the damage of your next Mind Blast, Shadow Word: Death, or Mind Spike cast within 12 sec by 20%.

Not sure if the two piece bonus is going to stay. But the Holy side of it is incredible. Increased potency of Prayer of Healing alone with just two Flash Heals (and the Serendipity effect)? However, the 10% crit is nothing to completely sneeze at. I think maybe it should go up slightly. 15% seems like a good number. If you’re not automatically triggering Archangel, this better be a good enough incentive for you! As for the four piece, I can see Circle of Healing and Prayer racking up some big time Holy Word charges. Nice for Blizzard to sneak in a pseudo-buff to Sanctuary and Serenity. The Spirit Shell bonus is no joke either. Try to time Archangel and Spirit Shell together for extra Divine Aegis proccing fun.

The Shadow bonuses are certainly cool on their own. I think Shadow Recall refers to our little Shadow copies that periodically run into the boss. The four piece is good in the sense it doesn’t really need us to change anything in our rotation significantly. We should still be using them at a full charge of Shadow Orbs, I think.

Don’t think this is going to be final just yet.

Need Gear for your Fresh Level 90 Priest?

Need Gear for your Fresh Level 90 Priest?

It’s all right here in this link. I’ve included a list of items (along with some alternatives). In addition, I’ve created a few tables with relevant priest look from each of the major reputation vendors.

Remember, it’s not a best in slot list. It’s a relatively fast in slot list. The goal is to get your Priest geared up as much as possible to hit dungeons and raids for the real good stuff. I tried to minimize the RNG as much as I can, but ultimately there’s going to be a few elements involved.

Good luck and I’ll see you at 90!

EDIT: If I run into anything on the way up, I’ll add it. I’m sure there’s a few out there I may have missed. I deliberately did not select PvP gear (but you can maybe get away with 1 or 2 pieces if you need to).

5.0.x and Mists of Pandaria: Holy and Discipline Priest Info

5.0.x and Mists of Pandaria: Holy and Discipline Priest Info

Welcome to patch 5.0.x! You’ll have a few weeks to get yourself acclimated for the great levelling push in under a month. Whether you plan to dungeon grind or quest your way to 85, it doesn’t hurt to refresh your skills.

Priest changes and additions

  • Fixed mana pools! We’re now down to 100k mana at level 85. For reference, Circle of Healing costs 3200 mana, Flash Heal costs 5900 mana, and Renew costs 2600 mana. Some reforging may be needed for regen purposes. We’ll have 300000 at level 90.
  • Our ranged slot is gone! But, we can now use Wands in our main hand. So if you happen to have a heroic Wand but haven’t been able to get a heroic main hand or staff, congratulations! Wand stats have been buffed to account for this.
  • Divine  Hymn is no longer available to Shadow Priests or Discipline Priests.
  • Dispel has an 8 second cooldown. Mass Dispel has a 15 second cooldown. Fights like Spine of Deathwing have been compensated accordingly.
  • Chakra spells can be used directly. You don’t have to follow it up with a trigger. Remember to bind both Chakra: Sanctuary and Chakra: Serenity.
  • New Discipline spell: Spirit Shell
  • Inner Fire increases spell power by 10% instead of a static value.
  • Power Word: Fortitude increases Stamina by 10% instead of a static value.
  • Evangelism built in to both Discipline and Holy. However, only Discipline can activate Archangel.

Playing styles

Holy

Holy users, you’ll just need to get accustomed to Chakra and stance switching. Nothing else has really changed dramatically. If you’ve been a Holy player before, congratulations! There isn’t much to learn. Lightwell now has the option to be made more “user friendly” via Glyph of Lightspring.

I do have one request though.

Blizzard, is it possible to add a visual distinction between Lightwells that can be clicked versus Lightwells that can’t? Maybe make Lightspring blueish instead.

lightwell-spring

Discipline

With Archangel and Evangelism available all the time (as in, not needing a talent), those of you who are familiar with keeping Archangel stacks active during heated moments will be in good shape. Sadly, Glyph of Power Word: Barrier is gone. Spirit Shell is a new ability which turns Heal, Greater Heal, and Prayer of Healing into absorption shield generators.

About Spirit Shell

  • Will scale with your crit chance
  • Scales with Mastery: Shield Discipline
  • Scales with Grace
  • Unaffected by Archangel
  • Unaffected by Inner Focus
  • Maximum ceiling of ~60% of target health (Tried with different gear combinations, but needs additional verification)

General changes

  • AoE looting. By far the best change of the patch.
  • Battletags. No more having to hand out email addresses anymore. Why couldn’t they have just started with this in the first place?

But wait, there’s more!

Recommended glyphs

For raiding

Prime glyphs have been taken out. But there’s lots of glyph selections now. Take your pick!

Talent notes

Tier 1: Level 15 (Crowd control)

Tier 2: Level 30 (Movement)

  • Body and Soul: If you’re one of the few Priests in raid, great! Suggest using this for pickup raids like the raid finder.
  • Angelic Feather: Anyone who runs over this will gain the speed benefit. If you need additional precision when it comes to targeting, opt for Body and Soul instead. In practice, I’ve seen cases where the wrong person makes up a feather or someone just strolls near it without realizing it.
  • Phantasm: Probably best for PvP. Though there are a few raid encounters which have slowing effects.

Tier 3: Level 45 (Mana)

Tier 4: Level 60 (Defensive)

  • Desperate Prayer: This spell has served me perfectly in previous expansions and it’ll continue to do the same. When you get access to Void Shift at level 87, what I like to do is Void Shift a tank who has low health and then immediately use Desperate Prayer to restore health from the inherited pool I took from the tank.
  • Spectral Guise: Best for PvP.
  • Angelic Bulwark: Neat for not having to worry about your own survivability as much. Think of it as a safety net.

Tier 5: Level 75 (Extra power)

  • Twist of Fate: Don’t underestimate this. An additional 15% healing for 10 seconds if you heal someone below 20%? In a raid environment, it’s possible to keep this buff up for long stretches at a time. Heck, Circle of Healing alone should help maintain it on most bosses.
  • Power Infusion: Available only to the casting Priest.
  • Divine Insight

Tier 6: Level 90 (AoE)

  • Cascade: Loving Cascade for raid play.
  • Divine Star: Best used if the majority of the raid group is stacked together.
  • Halo: Do not use this in dungeons. The potential to unintentionally pull mobs is high (personal experience).

Less than a month to go before panda-monium hits! You’ll be ready and supporting your guild in no time!

Spirit Shell Change: Burst Bubble Spam!

Spirit Shell Change: Burst Bubble Spam!

Spirit Shell: For the next 15 sec, your Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, and Prayer of Healing no longer heal but instead create absorption shields that last 15 sec.

Cool! Not less than half a day since I posted that we were expecting Spirit Shell changes, they went and changed up the design of it entirely. In terms of absorb values, my guess is that they’re going to be a 1:1 value. So if you heal for 10000, you’ll be creating shields for 10000.

Instead of a spell that directly creates a shield, they’ve given us an ability that turns most of our healing spells into shield spells. Interesting design change. Can’t wait to try it in action. At least we now have a clear toggle between the times when we need to restore health and the times to create shields. Nifty ability though because even if the raid is at near full health, Disc priests can easily toggle Spirit Shell on and blanket the raid with shields and add that extra health buffer to everyone.

I suppose this is one way to shield spam the raid!

And as promised, Rapture removes the cooldown on Power Word: Shield.

Priest talent: Mindbender

Priest talent: Mindbender

Really quick, my earlier post about Atonement is no longer accurate. Atonement is now a baseline, Discipline ability. It’s no longer a glyph and Holy has no access to it anymore. Edit: Discipline has access to Atonement at level 60.

Mindbender
40 yd range
4 min cooldown

Creates a Mindbender to attack the target.  Caster receives 6% mana when the Mindbender attacks. Damage taken by area of effect attacks is reduced. Lasts 15 sec.

It’s literally a flying squid. And it sucks the mana out of opponents. Not sure if this is a placeholder model or not, but I rather like it.  Now that the level 45 talents are seemingly finished, which one of the three talents would you choose?

I’m not actually sure which one of these I would take. My default choice will most likely be From Darkness, Comes Light. I really like having those free, instant Flash Heals. Not exactly the most reliable and there’s an heavier emphasis on procs. Can’t ignore the benefits of Mindbender though. A 4 minute cooldown means it can be used twice on most raid encounters.

New Priest talents, Glyph of Dark Binding, and Tier 14 healing bonuses

New Priest talents, Glyph of Dark Binding, and Tier 14 healing bonuses

Mindbender is the third level 45 talent. It was a giant question mark before, but it looks like it’s another pseudo-Shadowfiend. On a 4 minute cooldown, the Priest creates a Mindbender to attack the target and the Priest receives 6% mana back when Mindbender attacks. It’s only up for 15 seconds.

Glyph of Dark Binding: You can now cast Binding Heal, Flash Heal, and Renew without cancelling Shadowform. Nice! I’m pretty sure that’s going to be a super, OP utility glyph. I wouldn’t call it a requirement or anything yet. But if it were up to me, I’d ensure every Shadow Priest in my guild had it on progression as a just in case measure.

Glyph of Penance: Increases the mana cost of Penance by 20% but allows Penance to be cast while moving. I can accept this tradeoff.

Glyph of Fade: Your Fade ability now also reduces all damage taken by 10%. Fade just became much more attractive.

Spectral Guise does not appear to be our level 87 spell (Watch it in action here). You can now find it as a level 60 talent (Check WoWhead’s talent calculator). Wonder what replaced it. Edit: According to Derevka, Void Shift is now learned at level 87.

Divine Insight has changed. It’s no longer just an improved Serendipity.

Original

Divine Insight
Serendipity
When you heal with Binding Heal or Flash Heal, the cast time of your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing spell is reduced by 20% and mana cost reduced by 10%. Stacks up to 2 times. Lasts 20 sec.

Shadow of Death
When your Mind Blast deals damage, there is a 40% chance your next Shadow Word: Death will treat the target as if it were below 20% health.

New

Divine Insight
Discipline:
When you cast Spirit Shell, there is a 40% chance your next Power Word: Shield will both ignore and not cause the Weakened Soul effect.

Holy:
When you cast Greater Heal, there is a 40% chance your next Prayer of Mending will not trigger its cooldown, and will jump to each target instantly

Shadow:
When your Mind Blast deals damage, there is a 40% chance your next Shadow Word: Death will treat the target as if it were below 20% health.

Can’t wait for beta servers to come back online. I want to check out Mindbender. I’m sure it’ll be mind blowing.

Have to admit, I’m a little sad panda at the loss of Serendipity. Maybe they made it a base line or something but I haven’t seen anything that indicates that yet.

Tier 14 bonuses

Priest

  • 2 piece: Reduces the mana cost of Flash Heal by 10%
  • 4 piece: Reduces the cooldown of Penance by 4 seconds and reduces the cooldown of Circle of Healing by 4 seconds.

Shaman

  • 2 piece: Reduces the mana cost of Greater Healing wave by 10%
  • 4 piece: Your Tidal Waves ability now grants 1 additional charge each time it is triggered.

Paladin

  • 2 piece: Reduces the mana cost of your Holy Radiance spell by 10% (Overpowered).
  • 4 piece: Reduces the cooldown of Holy Shock by 1 second.

Druid

  • 2 piece: Reduces the mana cost of Rejuvenation by 10%
  • 4 piece: Reduces the cooldown of Swiftmend by 3 seconds.

Monk

  • 2 piece: Reduces the mana cost of Surging Mist by 10%
  • 4 piece: Your Chi Wave spell will now heal 1 additional target
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?

Priest 87 Ability: Spectral Guise

Priest 87 Ability: Spectral Guise

Spectral Guise is the current spell all Priests gain at level 87. as a talent at level 60.

Spectral Guise
30 sec cooldown

Your shadow blurs into the darkness, leaving your true form behind. As a shadow you are invisible, but remain in combat. Lasts 6 sec or until your true form is hit by 3 direct attacks.0

It seems much more suited towards PvP action than anything else. I can see it coming in handy for PvE stuff while you’re questing or if you’re one of the few people left alive in engagement.

What would help improve this illusion is if my clone taunted or if it casted a placebo spell dependant on my spec (Flash Healfor 0 or Mind Flay for 0).

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

What do you think of Spectral Guise? Something you’d use?

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?