A Look at Cataclysm’s Potential for Priests

Blizzard posted their Cataclysm Priest preview here.

Let me start off saying that ALL of this is subject to change regardless. Take it from me, as a Beast Master Hunter in BC, who was told that BM tank pets would be able to tank 5mans. Sometimes, they promise more than they deliver. So even though they said these are the changes, it is just speculation at this point still. Until the changes happen I don’t bank on it. Of course that isn’t going to keep me from spouting off about it either. Also I’m just looking at healing related changes because…yeah I don’t shadow priest so well 🙂

Heal (available at level 16): While priests already have a spell called Heal, the existing version becomes obsolete at higher levels, which is something we intend to change in Cataclysm. Introduced at a low level, the “new” Heal spell will functionally work much like a down-ranked Greater Heal did in the past, adding more granularity to your direct-healing arsenal. If you need to heal someone a moderate amount and efficiency is an issue (making Flash Heal the incorrect spell for the job), then Heal is what you want to use. Heal is intended to be the priest’s go-to direct-healing spell unless they need something bigger (Greater Heal) or faster (Flash Heal). We will be following a similar philosophy with all the healing classes.

I really don’t see this replacing Flash Heal unless the mana saving is significant. Flash is so fast it is specialized for those “Oh Crap!” moments. It would take a retooling of damage, say raid damage, needing to be healed but not that fast. Do we see this nowadays? Or do we see raid and splash damage needing to be healed fast because more is incoming? Well what about tank healing? I don’t see this replacing the current stopcasting measures being done. It is a great idea of a stop gap between Flash and Greater Heal. But unless it has a good casting time and is mana efficient enough I don’t see it happening. (Mind you I am a pessimist about them getting these things right in general so I hope you have your salt lick handy)

Leap of Faith (level 85): Pull a party or raid member to your location. Leap of Faith (or “Life Grip”) is intended to give priests a tool to help rescue fellow players who have pulled aggro, are being focused on in PvP, or just can’t seem to get out of the fire in time. Instant. 30-yard range. 45-second cooldown.

I wanted this today in VOA. I really wanted to grab this warlock by the hair and drag her out of the fire next to me on Emalon. And by drag by the hair I mean yank furiously for making me waste mana healing her since she was was too lazy to get out of the fire when it popped on the ground. I am sure it will see primary use in PVP settings but seriously the ability to smack people and yank them to me? Oh yeah it is BEGGING for a cheesy announcement macro. Ohhhh yeah!

Inner Will (level 83): Increases movement speed by 12% and reduces the mana cost of instant-cast spells by 10%. This buff will be exclusive with Inner Fire, meaning you can’t have both up at once. Inner Fire provides a spell power and Armor buff; Inner Will should be useful on a more situational basis.

I am holding out hope this won’t affect shield. (I can dream) If it doesn’t then this primarily will affect Holy priests. Do you trade the extra spell power for the 10% cost reduction? I think it really depends on the amount of healing going on and type. If bigger heals are needed on a small group of people then Inner Fire would be the winner to have on, but if small heals were needed to say top up a raid group else X happens (ala Lich King) then Inner Will would be the way to go. This really relies on the type of encounters we see designed come Cata. More than likely we will see fights taking this into account. Disc’s go to heal is a channeled heal and Flash of Light so I really see this more for Holy with Circle of Healing and Renew.

All HoTs and DoTs will benefit from Haste and Crit innately. Hasted HoTs and DoTs will not have a shorter duration, just a shorter period in between ticks (meaning they will gain extra ticks to fill in the duration as appropriate).

I think this is a direct result of how awesome the Druid 4pT9 was. Or maybe I am biased because my druid has it now and I love watching hots crit? Either way I am glad they are getting haste and crit and am only left wondering why this didn’t happen sooner. Really, Renews critting? brilliant!

While we want to keep the priest’s role as a well-rounded healer, we also want to make sure the class is a viable tank healer, which is something priests moved away from a little in Wrath of the Lich King. Greater Heal will probably be the tank-healing spell of choice, though we’ve also discussed giving Discipline a second shield so that they have a small shield to cast on lots of different targets, and a big, more expensive shield to cast on a tank or anyone else taking a ton of damage.

Ahh the return of Greater Heal! Hmm this does make me a bit worried about spec balance. But overall it is a little too vague to go on. Will a Greater Heal by a Disc be the same as Holy? And what about our second shield? Ahh yes the one they promised us months ago but put on the back burner is back again! No really! Power Word: Barrier. But then they go on to say…

We want to improve Discipline’s single-target healing capacity. One key is to make sure shielding isn’t always a more attractive option than healing

So perhaps I am wrong to fear Zhavi’s place as a tank healer. If they improve the healing this is a good thing, but the second part…what are they going to do to my shields? Change the mana costs? I just don’t know.

We want to make Holy a little bit more interesting to play. One new talent will push the Holy priest into an improved healing state when he or she casts Prayer of Healing, Heal, or Renew three times in a row. The empowered state varies depending on the heals cast.

Blizzard has this strange obsession with trying to find ways to make healing fun. I wonder if they hate healing or something? Like is the team in charge of deciding this is a problem the same guys who all have DPS toons? Or are the they guys that have healers and wish they dps instead? I dunno…I like healing obviously I’m insane though. It is already like whack-a-mole! Or is that just me? Don’t you feel like its whack-a-heal? I’m sticking with it already being a bad arcade game of my childhood. (I had very bad reflexes and wasn’t good at whacking fuzzy creatures…) Where were we? Ohhh yes holy priests are bored and hate their lives this is why they change to disc. Noooo, they changed to disc because shields are SEXY and Penance is sparkly. But whatever the world needs holy priests (and it is my off spec) So, instead if you cast something three times in a row something special will happen! *clicks her heals* There is no place like Dalaran *clicks her heals* There is no place like Dalaran *clicks her heals again and looks around* Oh I was already in Dalaran!

We want to improve Holy for PvP healing. One way to do this is to make sure that Heal’s throughput is similar between both specs.

Keep your PvP out of my PvE. This is tied into the new Heal spell so who knows. But do they really think that changing the throughput on 1 spell is going make Holy better in PvP situations? I mean obviously they are looking at data I don’t have. I just don’t see one spell fixing Holy PvP. I can and likely will be wrong since I avoid PvP like the plague unless it is Wintergrasp.

And finally we take a small look at the Mastery aspect of your talent Tree. I really think this is there way of enticing you to go deep in a tree and to cut down on hybrid builds.

Holy Priest

For each talent point spent in the Holy tree, the priest also gets:

  • Healing – Improves your healing by X%.
  • Meditation – Improves your mana regeneration from Spirit in combat. This would likely replace the existing Meditation talent from the Discipline tree, which many Holy priests consider to be a “must-have.” Regeneration will also probably be determined by whether you are in or out of combat, and not the “five-second rule.
  • Radiance – Adds a heal-over-time effect to direct heals, such as Flash Heal. Mastery on gear would boost this bonus, and no other talent tree would grant it.

Discipline Priest

For each talent point spent in the Discipline tree, the priest also gets:

  • Healing – Improves your healing by X%.
  • Meditation – Improves your mana regeneration from Spirit in combat. This would likely replace the existing Meditation talent.
  • Absorption – Improves the amount of damage absorbed by spells such as Power Word: Shield and Divine Aegis. Mastery on gear would boost this bonus, and no other talent tree would grant it.

Well both trees are the same for the top two. We both get an unknown % improvement to healing and improved mana regen via spirit which is replacing Meditiation. Holy’s Radiance isn’t too shabby, I like hots and hots on a heal you are already going to cast? Even better! Anything that makes Zhavi’s shields better is full of win. The real benefit here is that these are built into you take your talents and aren’t things you have to purchase with talents to get. I like the added bonuses for going deep in the tree. 🙂 This gets 2 thumbs up.

Ya know *shrug* we will all see how it shakes out when Cataclysm really hits. We got time before it does. At least months away before we get all these goodies to play with, then we will have hard numbers in current content to see not just how our class and stat changes affect it but also how the encounters they’ve made for us work. Until then, go forth and HEAL! 🙂

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Published in: on April 26, 2010 at 6:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

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