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Priest Class Feedback

Posted by Malevica on September - 20 - 2011

Blizzard recently put out a call to the community for feedback on the classes, presumably with a view towards setting the direction for the next expansion and beyond.

There have been some great posts already for the Priest class, and the one thing that’s struck me from reading the posts from healers of all stripes is just how much of a range of opinion there is out there. In this spirit, here’s my two penn’orth!

What type of content do you focus on? [PvE/PvP/Both]

PvE, very strongly. I might wander into AV from time to time, but that’s really it for PvP.

If PvE, what type of PvE? [Heroics/Raids/Other]

Raids primarily. I’m not in server-first guilds, but I’ve generally worked my way through heroic modes to some extent.

If PvP, what type of PvP? [Arenas, BGs, Rated BGs]

N/A

What are your biggest quality-of-life issues? For instance, no longer requiring ammo could be considered a quality-of-life improvement for hunters.

The 30-yard range on our Holy spells (HF, Smite, Penance). It just seems a bit outmoded now, especially given that the Atonement spec exists and those aren’t spells we only use while soloing.

The other big thing that would make my life easier is better damage when soloing, or not giving mobs ever-increasing health pools. I don’t have a third spec for Shadow, nor do I particularly want to spec that way. It’s way better than it was in the TBC days, but places like the underground areas in Tol Barad with high HP mobs and very fast respawn meant I was almost unable to get out of combat down there.

Otherwise it’s little things like a crafted wand to go with every other class’s crafted relics (although the VP wand meant that wasn’t so much of a problem in T12, so perhaps T11 was an oversight).

Oh, final one: please can we have more undead mobs to CC? Not vital ones in boss encounters, I understand about bring the player not the class and all that, but putting an undead or two in trash packs would give us some reason to use Shackle again. You could make me extra happy by making the Glyph of Divine Accuracy affect Shackle too.

What makes playing your class more fun?

For me it’s really about shifting gears and making us use more of our abilities. Doing the same thing all fight can be dull, but a fight or raid where you can be on tanks for a while, then on the raid for a while, and then on quick triage for another period keeps me engaged. Priests have a lot of versatility and we make excellent “float” healers, it always feels good to feel like we’re using that skill set.

That versatility extends to gear as well. I feel that of all the classes we have the least constraints on stat choices. On the one hand it’s been weird in this expansion not to be stacking one stat exclusively, it’s made gearing a bit more complicated, but on the other hand it’s been really good to be able to pick and choose gear based on the fights to increase performance for a given situation, rather than having it pre-determined for everything.

We also have good utility, with tank cooldowns in both specs, and Discipline having an additional raid cooldown and Power Infusion to play with. I play to help the team, so having special moves to make the most of really works for me.

I like playing Discipline specifically because it feels more proactive than something like a Paladin or Shaman (I may be grossly misjudging these classes!); it feels like more of a cerebral challenge to predict where you’ll be needed and get prevention in place, rather than reacting quickly after the fact. You need both styles within a raid, and I like the interplay between them.
(On that subject I like the control that party-based PoH gives for proactive damage prevention, and I hope that doesn’t go down the smart-heal road).

What makes playing your class less fun?

Fights like Ragnaros where the mechanics prevent Atonement from working (the tanks can’t be within 15 yards of Rag without being in the lava) are a disappointment for me. Atonement isn’t always appropriate, but I do feel that it should be up to us to decide that or find it out.

Something else that makes playing a Priest less fun is Divine Hymn having an 8-minute cooldown and feeling relatively weak, especially when compared to Druids using Tranquility every 3 minutes and hitting more targets for about the same each. I appreciate that Druids don’t have any other raid cooldown so I can see why Tranq is where it is, but that doesn’t stop DH from feeling underpowered all the same when it is (inevitably) compared side-by-side, or even compared against just throwing Flash Heals out there. The +10% healing buff is nice though and can be used to good effect.

I suppose the other thing that bothers me is the lack of Minor Glyph options for me. As a raider my Shadow Protection doesn’t tend to run out (and it’s not a big deal if it does), so my third Minor tends to be Shadowfiend, which just doesn’t seem to every get used. Perhaps there’s room for more fun options like model changes for the Shadowfiend, tweaking the Archangel wings, or more practical ones like reducing the mana cost of Shadow Protection as well.

How do you feel about your “rotation”? (Rotation is the accepted order in which abilities are used to maximum efficiency.)

I think that Priests are in a pretty good place. We have a tool for most situations, and we don’t have too fixed a rotation to obsess over although we can settle into something approaching a rotation when we need a chance to think.

I like the interplay with Strength of Soul and direct heals allowing us to use our PW:S more often. Although I do find that the lowered Weakened Soul duration can take a while to reach my end, to the point where I often don’t cast a PW:S after lowering the WS duration to zero because I’ll just be told I can’t do that yet, which negates a lot of the value of the talent in a PW:S, Penance, Heal, Heal, PW:S type rotation. I wonder if it’s possible to fix that at all though, given the client-server nature of the game.

I’m glad there’s not much in the way of procs to watch out for, at least for Discipline, which allows me to prepare and think about my next move instead of switching around to react to some thing new, or generally having my flow interrupted.

What’s on your wish list for your class?

Really the things mentioned above. I don’t feel we’re really missing anything in particular because we have such strong versatility, it’s more a matter of tweaking what we have.

My top priorities would probably be, in no particular order:

  • More damage or less tank-like mobs to help the soloing/daily-completing process without requiring a respec to Shadow
  • Longer range on Smite and Holy Fire (and Penance if possible) and no more bosses that render Atonement more or less automatically ineffective due to range.
  • Something to make Divine Hymn feel like it packs a bit more of a punch when used in a tight spot
  • Something to Shackle every now and then!

What spells do you use the least?

From my healing toolbox, Renew, probably. It just doesn’t compare favourably enough in HPM terms to the alternatives, even compared to Flash Heal (Renew: 7304 HPCast, 3.09 HPM; FH: 11627 HPS, 2.78 HPM in my gear), to make it a go-to spell for Discipline, and there aren’t enough talents points spare to buff it enough to make it worthwhile. I’d use it more as a tank heal if it could auto-refresh like Chakra: Serenity makes it do for Holy.

Other than that, Mind Control, Mind Vision, Mind Soothe and Fear Ward. These are all situational. Fear Ward hasn’t been much use lately because of a lack of fearing mechanics on bosses, which might be something to pass to the designers to look into. I really do love the quirky functionality of Mind Vision and Mind Soothe though, they’re just not especially raid-relevant, although I did read a suggestion elsewhere to add an enrage dispel to Mind Soothe which I thought was a great idea, assuming there’s a need or desire to spread that around any more.



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