Which Warlords of Draenor Racial Would You Want Now?

A few days ago, Warcraft Technical Game Designer Celestalon dispensed two hours worth of information on Twitter. One specific topic caught my eye. It’s no secret that racial bonuses in the game are a little skewed and slightly imbalanced. Many of the top tier raiding guilds are Horde and I’m fairly certain much of it is due to the min-maxing bonuses that the racials provide. So come Warlords, they’re mostly getting overhauled. While nothing has been finalized just yet, here’s where the racials stand right now.

WoW Head’s Perculia did a phenomenal job hunting down and assembling the information in an easily digestible package right here. You can check out the official blue post about racials here.

Alliance

  • Draenei Heroic Presence is now +X to your primary stat. Gift of the Naaru heals for the same amount but over 5 sec. 
  • Dwarf: Lost  Crack Shot and  Mace Specialization. Gained Might of the Mountain, a passive which adds 2% Crit Damage. Also… A change to Stoneform: Also removes Magic/Curse. HOWEVER, it still cannot be used while CC’d. (It is still NOT a CC-break) 
  • Gnome Escape Artist dropped to a 1min CD (from 1.5min), and  Shortblade Specialization became Nimble Fingers, 1% Haste. Also- A tweak to  Expansive Mind. Was +5% max Mana. Now +5% Max Mana, Energy, Rage, or Runic Power. 
  • Humans lose the Mace/Sword racials.  The Human Spirit becomes +X to two secondary stats of your choice.  Every Man for Himself, we’re still evaluating. Itemization changes may mean no nerf needed. 
  • Night Elves Quickness also increases movement speed by 2% passively. They also got a new passive which is quite unique… (Remember, no more haste breakpoints!) Touch of Elune, a new passive which grants 1% Haste at night, 1% Crit during the day.Shadowmeld is unchanged. 
  • Worgen: Darkflight is staying unchanged. 

Horde

Pandaren, of course, will most likely not see a change and retain their Epicurean bonus.

The Draenei racial bonus is much more appealing. Too bad we don’t know what the +X value is for the primary stat. It’s going to go right to Intellect for priests of all kinds. Gift of the Naaru will heal 20% of a target’s health over 5 seconds (instead of 15). It’s another healing spell you can add to your bar and you can save it for emergencies (every 3 minutes).

My first Priest was a Dwarf. I miss Stoneform and the ability to shrug off poisons. Now it functions as a secondary self dispel since it can remove magic debuffs and curses. The extra crit damage is handy for the Shadow and the Discipline Smiters though. May not be as helpful for Holy.

What about the Gnomes? There’s still the bonus to mana but it’s been expanded to include the energy of other class types. The natural 1% haste is new and useful for all priest types.

Humans gain a rather unique spin to their buff. They get to select which two secondary stats get a bonus. I imagine one of those will be Spirit and the other will be Haste, Crit, or Mastery — Whatever your priest is short on. An interface is being worked up right now allowing you to pick. The ability to pick and choose offers some neat flexibility.

Night Elves. Sigh. Really? Server time makes a difference now? Blah. I hate randomness. But it looks like there’s not much that can be done about that.

Horde side, Blood Elves continue to be the winner. The crit bonus passive is second only to Arcane Torrent’s innate mana restoring capability.

Goblins? The ability to Rocket Jump is huge in heavy movement fights. Now you get a flat 1% haste instead of a bonus to attack and bast speed.

Orcs can’t play priests so that point is rather moot.

Tauren Priests are already benefitting from a slight stamina boost allowing them to withstand a little more damage than usual. But the new Brawn bonus is a solid boon for priests of all types.

The first iteration of the Troll’s Berserking was pretty overpowered. It was like a mini-Heroism on demand. Now it’s been nerfed to a flat 15% Haste bonus instead of the 20%. Not quite as good but still reliable for burst healing your way through stuff.

Huge nerf to the Undead’s Will of the Forsaken with the cooldown going up. No other changes.

So let’s assume that you’re rolling a new Priest. You have all these excellent racials available to you. No more of the junk bonus to hit or expertise or any of that stuff.

Which one should you go for?

If you plan on playing Alliance, I would favour the Draenei bonuses. Hard to say for sure without knowing what the X value is. If you’re PvPing, Dwarves or Gnomes are a good bet. I like Gnomes though since Escape Artist is handy (and the fast cooldown).

If you plan on playing Horde, I’m leaning towards Blood Elves. That mana restore is so nice to have especially on progression fights when you’re tapped out. Berserking is another trait you’ll find attractive and is great if you’re playing either shadow or healing.

Personally, I’m staying a Pandaren. Can’t get enough of that food buff.

Priest Racial Changes: The Twitterati Reaction

Yes, that’s right! I called them the Twitterati! They’re my fellow WoW playing and tweeting homeys on Twitter. You’ve read Wyn’s reaction to the news. Here’s what the rest of the Twitterati had to say (Brackets is their blog, if applicable):

@eliah: One more in a long line of things removed in LK that Blizz has realized were a bad idea to begin with. “Hell, it’s about time.” (WoW Insider)

@Aylii: Sure. Imo, it was time they changed that, now you don’t have to roll a dwarf to be awesome. (Murloc Queen)

@danielwhitcomb: I think they’re awesome as hell. Sort of sucks that Chastise is gone, but so much <3 for baseline Devouring Plague and SoH. (WoW Insider)

@karlajean: liking that I’ll be getting Devouring Plague, but I wonder if this is a move to placate everyone else, not help the priests. also starting to think Koraa just hates shadowpriests (KarlaJean)

@ladydanotte: WoW moving towards cookie cutter classes. I kinda like idea of racials having slight advantages 4 game complexity & interest. (Lady Danotte)

@Doug_Williams: Its all about Blizz aiming toward homogenization, you don’t need to have a dwarf or drain-o, you can bring anyone you want.

@Medros: as a non priest, they never made sense to me. I don’t get a special bonus for being a human Paladin, NE Druid, or Draenei Paladin (All Things Azeroth)

@pikestaff: though I never played a priest I always thought the racials were a very unique and cool thing about them… sad to see them go. (Aspect of the Hare)

@shinmeko: Pros: Kept Symbol of Hope. Cons: Gave everyone else symbol of hope. Maybe this will shunt draenei disc priest monopoly howeva. (shinmeko)

@macanima: I hate this homogenization kick Blizzard is on. All the flavor of priests is identical now. We’re heading towards two classes: caster and hitter, with heal/harm and hit/prot trees. (macanima)

/end creative outgoing link exercise

BREAKING: Priest Racials Removed

“In an upcoming build all Priest racials have been retired, except the following:

Desperate Prayer – This is now the 11-point talent in Holy, Holy Nova is now a base ability. Cooldown also reduced to 30 seconds.

Devouring Plague – Now a base ability. Cooldown reduced to 30 seconds, mana cost greatly reduced.

Symbol of Hope – Now a base ability. Now restores 5% base mana every 2 seconds for 8 seconds to your party. Renamed “Hymn of Hope.”
While this change does reduce the “uniqueness” of different Priests, we feel game balance as a whole will benefit.

Note: These new “racials” are not racials, they are trainable to all Priests.”

Source: Blizzard Forums Blue Post 
Thanks to Ravageclaw for letting me know. Expect this news to filter out to the big sites momentarily (I’ve alerted them).

Thoughts? Initial reactions? I’m going to reserve judgement for the time being.

Fear Ward Sucks, says Tremor Totem

The 2.3 patch brought about many sweeping changes for Priests. Fear Ward, a spell once exclusive to Dwarves and Dranei, is now available to all Priests at level 20. Before Burning Crusade, the Horde answer to Fear Ward was Tremor Totem. On raids like Onyxia, the two abilities were the few that helped make fear manageable.

(Definitions courtesy of WoWWiki.com)

Fear Ward

Fear Ward is a spell available to all priests at level 20. This spell renders the target immune to one fear effect. The buff lasts 3 minutes, has a 3 minute cooldown to recast, and is considered a magic effect. The buff is consumed even if the character is already immune to fear (i.e. warrior using Berserker Rage or Death Wish).

Tremor Totem

Summons a Tremor Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster that shakes the ground around it, removing Fear, Charm and Sleep effects from party members within 30 yards. Lasts 2 min.

Analysis

So the big benefit to Fear Ward is that it is now available to all Priests. The really big downside is that it has a three minute uptime and a three minute cool down. On engagements like Nightbane, Warriors are going to have to be more alert in their stance dancing. You can avoid the first fear easily and it gets nullified. If you have a second Priest, you can mitigate the second one. But subsequent fears will need to be danced.

Enter the Tremor Totem

What about the tremor totem? If a Shaman drops it down, it does not prevent fear effects (THAT would be overpowered). It pulses every few seconds and when the pulse hits, the fear effect is removed (along with silence, charm, etc). Tremor totems can be placed at any time and have a shelf life of only two minutes. When a Shaman drops the totem down, any fear effects that are already up are immediately removed effectively ‘cleansing’ the players. Bear in mind, totem affects only those currently in your party.

So going back to our Nightbane example, if you have a Shaman, I think this will alter some of the group makeups to include a Shaman. Tremor totem hasn’t become stronger. Fear ward just became weaker. It’s viability in PvE encounters has diminished. The only downside to tremor totem is that there may be some cases where players run out of range of it’s effect (can be lessened if you invest a point to extend totem range).

So bottom line? Advantage, Tremor Totem.

I won’t touch the PvP side of things. I’ll leave that to my buddy Pwyff to take care of.