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[MoP Beta] Priest Mana Regen Revisited

Posted by Malevica on June - 24 - 2012

This is a follow-up to my previous post on the subject, to look in a bit more detail at actual, not just potential, returns from From Darkness, Comes Light.

As of 1st July 2012 I’ve merged the corrections and the discussion on the various options from here into the previous post to keep it all in one place. The big change is that the recent buff to Mindbender with Build 15799 (1.0% per swing -> 1.3%) it’s a stronger choice now and competitive with the others, although still probably not an automatic go-to since PW:Solace and FD,CL have greater potential.

FD,CL Procs and Regen

In my initial comparison of FD,CL procs I chose to simply treat them as occurring on 15% of casts, and thus attributing 15% of the mana saving (19,500 mana) to each eligible heal.

That’s fine in spreadsheets and for simplifying the analysis, but how can we quantify the randomness? One way is to simulate a lot of encounters and see what sort of range we might expect.

Considering a 5-minute fight, and two usage scenarios, here’s what I get from an arbitrary run of the sim (10,000 iterations):

  1. Bare minimum – 2 casts per minute – Mean saving per fight: 29,253 mana – StdDev: 22,456 mana.
  2. Tank-healing heavy – 20 casts per minute – Mean saving per fight: 295,563 mana – StdDev: 70,406 mana.

The standard deviation (StdDev) is a measure of the size of the variation from the average, and that’s the important figure here. The more statistically-minded will already have drawn their own conclusions, but for the rest of us the short version is this:
If you’re casting FD,CL-eligible heals infrequently you might get lucky and nearly double your returns but you’re just as likely to end up with practically nothing. If you cast frequently you’re better off, but you could still end up losing out on a quarter of the returns you were expecting.

Obviously over a longer fight the numbers will even out a little better, but the majority of the fights do fall into the ~5-6 minute range, at least in Cataclysm.

The point of all this is that because of the huge variations of FD,CL’s procs you really need to be casting a lot of eligible heals to be sure of getting the benefit. When comparing PW:Solace and FD,CL, you should underestimate the value of FD,CL, particularly if running out of mana is likely to be a killer rather than an inconvenience. PW:Solace gives you flexibility that FD,CL does not.

Again, this doesn’t change the conclusion that PW:Solace is better for raid healing and FD,CL only if you’re tank- or single-target-healing a lot, but it does shine light on the massive unreliability you can expect to see in FD,CL returns.



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[MoP Beta] Priest Mana Regen Options

Posted by Malevica on June - 22 - 2012

Tier 3 of the Priest talent tree for Mists of Pandaria will be all about mana regeneration. But which is the best option: From Darkness, Comes Light? Mindbender? Or the shiny new Power Word: Solace?

Updated 24th June, see the follow-up post for details.
Updated again 1st July, to take account of the 1.0% -> 1.3% bump in Mindbender’s mana return. This changes the conclusions a little: originally Mindbender was barely an advantage over Shadowfiend, now it is a viable option.

For another take on this, Derevka at Tales of a Priest has carried out a similar analysis including presenting the data in some slightly different ways. That’s well worth a read as well; more eyes and more opinions are of course always a good thing for the community, as are different ways of explaining and presenting things.

It Depends

Obviously it’s going to be situational, there’s no question about that. Each of the talents has a different focus and will help in different scenarios:

  • From Darkness, Comes Light – Gives you a 15% chance on casting a Smite, Heal, Flash Heal, Binding Heal or Greater Heal to get a free, instant-cast Flash Heal. You can store up to 2 free heals.
  • Mindbender – Replaces Shadowfiend with a Mindbender. With Mindbender you get 1.3% Mana per swing instead of 3%, but a 1 minute CD instead of 3 minutes. You also get an extra two swings from the Mindbender because it has a 15s duration compared to the Shadowfiend’s 12s. The Mindbender’s damage is around 5.5k per swing (for me at level 88) compared to around 6.5k for the Shadowfiend.
  • Power Word: Solace – New! Deals light damage to an enemy, but grants 2% of mana back per cast. Priestly Telluric Currents, if you will. (Currently this restores mana even against immune enemies or if you miss, which is convenient).

First I’ll look at Mindbender and compare it to the other two options, then discuss the comparison of FD,CL with PW:Solace. If you just want the short version, then skip to the conclusions.

Mindbender

The graphs below show the amount of mana returned for Mindbender compared to Shadowfiend for a range of fight durations from 3 to 12 minutes. Because Mindbender replaces Shadowfiend, this is the net benefit of taking the talent.

The first shows the best-case situation, where you cast Shadowfiend or Mindbender pretty much on the pull and none of the mana returned is wasted. At level 90 this is consistent with chain-casting anything but Heal. This also assumes a 15% miss chance (healers are likely to have no hit bonus, and 15% is the standard chance to miss a boss-level mob).

Mindbender and Shadowfiend mana returns for a range of fight durations (Level 90, Immediate first cast)

Mindbender and Shadowfiend mana returns for a range of fight durations (Level 90, Immediate first cast)

Under this scenario Mindbender generates additional mana, both because of the extra swings and higher mana per swing, and because of the greater granularity (so you can fit more casts in.

If you don’t need the mana in the very early stages of the fight and delay the first casts of both until you’ve opened up a suitable mana deficit, the effect is more pronounced. The second graph shows the effect if you choose to delay Shadowfiend for a minute after the pull compared with waiting 20 seconds to cast Mindbender (in both cases the delay is sufficient to let a sufficient mana deficit build up, even being fairly frugal with mana).

Mindbender and Shadowfiend mana returns for a range of fight durations (Level 90, Delayed first cast)

Mindbender and Shadowfiend mana returns for a range of fight durations (Level 90, Delayed first cast)

In this case the greater granularity of Mindbender lets you fit an extra cast in much earlier, opening up a slightly larger gap over most fight durations.

However, remember that the benefit of Mindbender is the difference between Mindbender and Shadowfiend. So the possible advantage of Mindbender over Shadowfiend needs to be weighed against the potential benefit of the other two talents.

Looking at the graphs the gap widens and narrows as the encounter duration changes. For a 12-minute fight the gap is the largest, at 162,180 mana. To compare that to the other talents, consider that PW:Solace gives 2%, or 6,000 mana, per cast. So Mindbender equivalent to 162,180/6,000= 27.03 PW:Solace casts over the course of the fight, which is 2.25 PW:Solace casts per minute over 12 minutes. So if you can squeeze in just over 2 PW:Solace casts per minute, PW:Solace beats Mindbender. Since 2 FD,CL-eligible heals are worth roughly 1 PW:Solace cast, double those figures to see how Mindbender compares to FD,CL.

Let’s look at how the gap looks over the same range of fight durations as before:

Advantage of Mindbender over Shadowfiend, expressed as PW:Solace Casts per Minute

Advantage of Mindbender over Shadowfiend, expressed as PW:Solace Casts per Minute

The dotted line is where things used to be at 1%, and the solid line is the current state, including the buff to 1.3%.

While there is a lot of variation depending on the fight length, the range is generally between 1 and 3 PW:Solace casts needed to break even, and typically comes out around 2, on average.

The bottom line is this: if you can cast at least 3 PW:Solaces per minute of the fight then Mindbender is simply the weaker choice. If you’re not sure, check the chart and consider the likely fight length, and decide whether you think you can hit the target number instead.

Mindbender does have other advantages to be aware of though that could change the equation in specific cases:

  1. If your Shadowfiend is likely to get killed, the Mindbender gives you more bites at the cherry. 2/3 of the mana if one Mindbender dies is better than 0/3 if you lose the Shadowfiend. But this shouldn’t be a huge problem. More importantly;
  2. Mindbender is very much fire-and-forget. When the button lights up you just cast and get a nice mana income. No fuss, no bother. Usually encounters aren’t non-stop from start to finish, but if you find yourself really struggling then MB isn’t a bad option
  3. The Mindbender does a lot more damage over the course of the fight. Each SF cast is good for about (depending on crits and misses etc, of course) around 50,000 damage; Each Mindbender cast also accounts for around 50,000 damage but you get 3 Mindbenders to every Shadowfiend, so you’re comparing 50,000 to 150,000. When DPS counts, Mindbender gives an advantage, albeit a small one.

FD,CL vs Power Word: Solace

Power Word: Solace

Power Word: Solace

If you’re not casting single-target heals very often, the choice becomes simpler because you’re not going to see the benefits of FD,CL. But if you’re doing a bit of both, how do you decide?

Let’s get a feel for the numbers first.

  • Assuming no internal cooldown, FD,CL has a 15% chance to proc from one of the named heals. We can (very roughly) say that each eligible cast you make is worth 15% of the mana cost of Flash Heal, or 2925 mana at level 90.
  • PW:Solace is worth 2% of your mana per cast, or 6000 mana at level 90.

With those numbers in mind, have a look at your logs or just make an educated estimate of how many times you’re casting an eligible heal in a fight. Divide that by 2 and that’s how many PW:Solace casts you’ll need to squeeze in to come out ahead.

Remember that Evangelism procs from Penance in MoP, so if you’re heavily raid healing then you may not need to cast Smite at all. This means that FD,CL is not an automatic choice for Discipline even if we’re using Archangel liberally.

As a general rule of thumb to get started, if I were going to be primarily raid-healing I’d lean towards PW:Solace to begin with, while if I knew the tank might need more attention on a given encounter I might try FD,CL as my first pick. But the key to maximising this is actually reflecting on your healing style and the number of PW:Solace opportunities in a given encounter and making an informed decision.

 

Conclusions

For tank healing FD,CL looks like the strongest choice. If you’re able to cast more than 6 FD,CL-eligible heals per minute (and you should be if you’re healing the tank) then FD,CL beats Mindbender. Deciding between FD,CL and PW:Solace is trickier, but bear in mind that you need to fit in at least 1 PW:Solace for every FD,CL-eligible heal you cast. If you’re throwing a stream of Heals and Greater Heals (with PW:S, Penance, PoM and Smite/HF woven in) at your tank then you’re looking at somewhere on the order of 10 PW:Solace casts per minute to break even.

For raid healing PW:Solace should be your first choice. To guarantee to beat Mindbender you need to fit in 3 Power Word: Solace casts per minute on average, but you can often come out ahead with just 2 PW:Solaces per minute.
However, if you’re finding yourself in a ‘floater’ role and you find that you’re casting more than twice as many FD,CL-eligible heals (Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal, Flash Heal and Smite) PW:Solace casts, then you might see a greater benefit from picking FD,CL. I’d recommend starting off with PW:Solace and looking for as many opportunities to cast it as possible, and then checking your logs and seeing what’s most appropriate for your playstyle.
Remember that PW:Solace has the most potential if you can find and take the maximum number of opportunities and cast it as often as possible.

Mindbender is valuable for non-stop raid-healing when you aren’t going to benefit from FD,CL but also can’t squeeze in enough PW:Solace casts. Its fire-and-forget nature leaves you free to get back to what you’re doing without much thought and management.



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[MoP Beta] Snapshot of the Disc Priest

Posted by Malevica on May - 12 - 2012

I’ve spent a bit of time in the last week or two playing my Discipline Priest in the Mists of Pandaria beta, and trying to figure out what’s changed and what’s what in the new world order. Of course, this being Beta, it’ll all have changed again next week, so treat this as a snapshot of where things are at. (I actually delayed publishing this until I had time to see the new Spirit Shell changes, more on that below!)

As is my wont this post got a bit long, so if you want to skip to a specific part here’s links to the discussion of spells, their costs and performance, Spirit Shell, Rapture, Talents and Glyphs.

Bear in mind that I’m still only level 86 as I write this, and the experience changes a lot as you level up.

 

The Gotcha Test

The first thing I do when I log into a beta or PTR is what I think of as the “Gotcha!” test. I take a close look at the HPS, HPM and costs of all our spells. Why? Remember Flash Heal in Wrath? And in Cataclysm? That’s what I’m looking for, a go-to ability that’s undergone a drastic shift. Here’s the list at level 85, at my gear level which is ilvl 404 on Live:

Priest Spells, Costs and Performance (Build 15677)

Priest Spells, Costs and Performance (Build 15677)

Notice that the mana costs are all nice neat round numbers. That’s because all healers now have a fixed mana pool of 100,000 MP (except gnomes, who have 105,000 MP thanks to our racial!) and spells cost a fixed percentage of our maximum mana.

No huge surprises in there this time, so I won’t go into too much detail. Most of the spells are where they have been in Cataclysm, which is nice. Flash Heal and Power Word: Shield remain our fast, expensive emergency heals. They have pretty punishing HPM and high costs, but they’re quick. Penance is still earning its cooldown with comparable HPS to Flash Heal but half the mana cost, and Prayer of Healing is still good when you have 3 or more people to heal up.

On the subject of abilities, there’s a new page on the spellbook labelled Core Abilities:

Priest Core Abilities Tab (Build 15677)

Priest Core Abilities Tab (Build 15677)

This is a helpful little nugget to nudge new players in the right direction when picking up a spec for the first time, or returning to a spec after a while away. It might be nice to draw attention to this tab more obviously, maybe as a tutorial tip, because it’s not even in the Talents window so you could easily overlook it.

 

Spirit Shell

While for a while Spirit Shell was an absorb replacement for Greater Heal, that design was rolled back in a recent build in favour of giving us GH back and redesigning Spirit Shell. Personally, I like what they’ve done with the spell.

Spirit Shell is a 15s self-buff on a 1 minute cooldown that turns all the heals you cast into absorbs with their own 15s duration. According to Ghostcrawler it’s been designed to take account of Divine Aegis (by increasing the size of the bubble by your crit chance so if, for example, you have 20% crit chance your bubble will be 120% of the size of the heal), the bubble size benefits from Grace in the same way the original heals would, and the bubbles also scale with Mastery. Note that the bubbles don’t “crit”, your crit chance has already been taken into account.

To put some numbers on this, imagine you hit Spirit Shell, then cast Greater Heal on your tank. Suppose, for the sake of argument, a baseline Greater Heal is good for 50,000 HP.
I have 15% crit chance, so that gives me a bubble of 50,000 * 1.15 = 57,500 HP.
I also have 25.73% stronger bubbles from Mastery, which takes my bubble up to 57,500 * 1.2573 = 72,295 HP.
Add in a triple-stacked Grace for a 30% boost, and my Greater Heal bubble is up to a whopping 72,295 * 1.30 = 93,983 HP.

That’s good stuff!

The current implementation is still a little early. Currently it’s not actually benefiting from any of those extra effects so we’re stuck with the basic heal. There’s also the open question, which Ghostcrawler acknowledged is still one they don’t have an answer for, of how stacking and capping these bubbles will work. Currently the Spirit Shell shields from different heals stack with each other (they create separate buffs for themselves depending on the spell) but casting the same spell twice refreshes the duration but replaces the absorb amount with the latest value, even if it’s lower.

I expect both of these behaviours to change and I wouldn’t be surprised to see the effect end up working more like DA does, where all the heals contribute to a single bubble buff which stacks up to a cap. The developers did point out that they don’t like us feeling like we need to spam something up to a cap (PoH/DA, anyone?), but I don’t think I mind that sort of mechanic. We’ll have to see how it plays out.

The utility of this is centred around preparing for and preventing damage. Know the Elementium Bolt is about to splash down, or your tank’s going to get Impaled? Get those bubbles out there to take the edge off it. The fact that it scales with Mastery means that you’ll get a slight healing boost out of this cooldown as well (Mastery affects the whole bubble, rather than just the DA portion of the heal), but the tradeoff if that you’ll have to have enough damage coming out to take proper advantage of the absorbs.

 

Rapture

Rapture is something of a vexed subject at the moment.

Rapture, on Beta and on Live, returns a lump of mana when your PW:S breaks; on Live it’s a fraction of your total mana, on the Beta it’s 150% of your Spirit. On Live this is (significantly) more than the PW:S cost to cast, making it an important source of mana regeneration, whereas on Beta the return is less than the cost of PW:S.

If we consider Rapture as a regeneration mechanic, it’s a slightly problematic one. The objections been gone over several times, including in the links above, but they more or less come down to difficulties in getting PW:S to break reliably when the damage is light or unpredictable or cases where you have multiple Disc Priests fighting over opportunities to bubble a single tank.

This unreliability is a problem on Live because Rapture is a form of “active mana regeneration”, like a potion on a 12s cooldown, and it’s a major part of our mana equation – we cast a bubble every 12 seconds to give us the mana we need to do whatever it is we actually want to be doing – and because it’s so powerful we don’t bother with Spirit for the most part. Imagine if your Shadowfiend had a 50% miss chance, or your Hymn of Hope didn’t actually give you any mana back half the time. Oh, wait…

However, Ghostcrawler explained that that this wasn’t actually the intention of Rapture:

Rapture isn’t trying to be Telluric Currents. You shouldn’t spam PW:Shield when you need mana. Rapture is intended to offset the cost of PW:Shield when the latter is used intelligently.

So instead of thinking of Rapture as part of our mana regeneration, instead we should think of it as a discount on casting PW:S as long as we don’t do it too often and pick a target that’s actually going to take damage. Think of it as a proc like Surge of Light, giving us a cheap PW:S every now and then instead of a free Flash Heal, only it doesn’t proc randomly but activates every 12 seconds instead. I still think there’s a possible issue with PW:S needing to break, especially in the case where you have two Disc Priests fighting over the damage, but you can at least see why that design is there, and that might be an application of the Divine Insight talent (call-ahead!).

Have a look back at the table, and look at the HPS and HPM of PW:S with and without Rapture. Without Rapture it’s still our best HPS ability, but the cost is punishing. Factor in a Rapture proc though and it’s suddenly right up there with our best HPM abilities as well.

There’s still one small wrinkle though, and that’s Meditation. You see, Meditation for Disc Priests is 25%, whereas it’s 50% for every other healing spec. The reason for this is that because Rapture makes PW:S so cheap and so powerful (when we weave it in) we can achieve the same output as the other specs for a smaller mana cost. To balance out this lower cost, our background regen is lowered to match.

The upshot is that if we don’t use PW:S at all, or don’t use it especially intelligently, we’ll end up a little behind the other specs mana-wise. If we use it exceptionally well, we’ll potentially end up ahead. Now the ball’s in Blizzard’s court, and they’ll need to tweak the numbers as the Beta progresses and we hit the level 90 content to make sure we’re balanced.

 

Talents

I’ve not done a talent run-down in a while, so let’s see where we’re at with those.

Level 15

Priest Level 15 Talents (Build 15677)

Priest Level 15 Talents (Build 15677)

Level 15 remains the “CC” tier. Void Tendrils summons a Tendril for every mob within 8 yards of you that roots it for up to 20 seconds; Psyfiend lets you spawn a Psyfiend at a location you choose that fears a mob attacking you every 1.5s; Dominate Mind is Mind Control. Videos of the first two are below for your enjoyment.

Void Tendrils:

Psyfiend:

Personally I’d go with Void Tendrils as my standard pick, just because fear is often a risky proposition. But I can see a lot of value in the Psyfiend in PvP. Throw it down on a flag or into a tower and watch the fun, or maybe just use it to keep people off you.

Level 30

Priest Level 30 Talents (Build 15677)

Priest Level 30 Talents (Build 15677)

At Level 30 you’ve got the movement talents. Body and Soul is the same ability we’ve known and envied for two expansions, only now it’s available to all Priests regardless of spec. The contender for PvE is Angelic Feather, which lets you place up to 3 feathers on the ground that grant a movement speed boost to the next person to step on them. If you have a known kite patch or need to keep someone moving at speed for a while then Angelic Feather is stronger than Body and Soul, but Body and Soul is more flexible if you just need to get someone moving and don’t necessarily know who it’s going to be. Tailor your choice to the situaion.

Phantasm looks at first glance like more of a PvP choice, although don’t rule it out entirely for PvE either. It makes your Fade remove all movement-impairing effects and makes you untargetable by ranged attacks and immune to movement-impairing effects for 3 seconds. The untargetability might have niche applications (I wonder if it would make you immune to Shrapnel, for example) but the freedom of movement could be handier.

I suspect the choice will usually be between Angelic Feather and Body and Soul for PvE, but it’s nice to have the option of Phantasm as well.

Level 45

Priest Level 45 Talents (Build 15677)

Priest Level 45 Talents (Build 15677)

Level 45 is the first tier where you get to actually improve your output. From Darkness, Comes Light (FD,CL), which still has that extraneous and slightly grating comma, gives you a 15% chance to proc a free, instant Flash Heal when you use (most of) your single-target heals. The list includes Smite, but not Penance or Holy Fire; this may change, I’d certainly expect to see Penance in that list. Given the high HPS of Flash Heal, this is a strong talent if you’re using a good number of single-target heals.

Mindbender replaces your Shadowfiend and deals double the damage and gives back double the mana. Because everything scales off base mana and base mana is fixed, your Mindbender will return 72% of your mana bar (assuming he doesn’t miss) compared to 36% for the Shadowfiend. This extra mana allows you to use more of the expensive spells, and is a great choice if you don’t think you’ll see the benefit of FD,CL, if you’re AoE healing, for example.

And finally we have Archangel, another old friends that’s been opened up to all three specs. This is a straight up output boost for 18s on a 30s cooldown, assuming you’re able to weave in the requisite number of Smites, Holy Fires and Penances to stack Evangelism up to 5. That’s right: Penance stacks Evangelism now, one stack per tick, and causes Atonement heals as well, so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting Evangelism stacked.

In this tier you’re picking what you need. The first two are all about efficiency, the third is about simple output. I suspect we’ll shift from the left to the right as the expansion progresses and mana becomes less of an issue, and at the start we’ll be interested mostly in FD,CL for tank healing and Mindbender for raid healing, although I’ll admit I’ve not sat down and worked through them in detail yet.

Level 60

Priest Level 60 Talents (Build 15677)

Priest Level 60 Talents (Build 15677)

Level 60 is all about taking care of yourself. You get a choice of an instant 30% self-heal on a 2-minute cooldown (Desperate Prayer), a shield for 20% of your HP when you’re damaged below 30% of your health every 90s (Angelic Bulwark) and the new Spectral Guise.

Spectral Guise is an interesting talent. When you hit it you spawn a clone of yourself which your enemies will attack, while you get stealthed for 6 seconds or until your clone (“your true form”) is hit 3 times. You can either use the time to run away or to throw a couple of heals on yourself unimpeded.

Spectral Guise feels more solo- or PvP-orientated than the other two since you don’t often take direct attacks as a healer in raids, but it may be useful to save you from a powerful attack directed your way (again Shrapnel comes to mind), since you don’t share in the the damage your clone takes.

Level 75

Priest Level 75 Talents (Build 15677)

Priest Level 75 Talents (Build 15677)

Here’s where things get really weird, with a jumble of talents. Twist of Fate gives you a 15% damage or healing buff after damaging or healing a target under 20% HP. I can see this possible being useful for handling low-health enrage phases: throw a HF on the boss at 19% and enjoy 15% extra healing for a while, as well as the more orthodox behaviour of rewarding triage-style healing of the lowest people when the raid is weakened.

Alternatively you could go for Power Infusion for 20% faster, 20% cheaper spell for 15s every 2 minutes either for you or for a friend.

The real wildcard is Divine Insight. For Disc Priests this procs from Penance casts and allows your next PW:S to ignore and to not cause Weakened Soul.
I can see two main uses for this. It’d be pretty handy if you needed a quick throughput boost on a single target because it would let you to throw out a PW:S, Penance, PW:S combination, and it would also be useful to let you maximise the frequency of your Rapture-cheapened PW:S casts even if you or another Priest has already got Weakened Soul on your target.

Level 90

Priest Level 90 Talents (Build 15677)

Priest Level 90 Talents (Build 15677)

Until we’re able to actually play with these all we can do is speculate. I’ll link the three options, but reserve comment until they’re opened up on the Beta.

Your choice at level 90 is between:
Cascade, Divine Star, and Halo.

 

Glyphs

Since the Prime Glyphs have been removed, we’re left with the utility-focused Major Glyphs and the cosmetic Minor Glyphs.

The minors are all more or less unchanged. Shadow Protection went away with the removal of spell resistances, and we got Glyph of the Heavens instead. This one makes your Levitate targets appear to be floating on a cloud. Funky!

As for Majors, a lot are unchanged, but there are a few interesting changes.

  • Glyph of Dispel Magic – Deals damage when you dispel an enemy, rather than healing when you dispel a friendly.
  • Glyph of Purify – Heals 3% of max HP when you dispel a friendly. Dispel Magic is now our offensive dispel, while Purify is our defensive dispel/cleanse ability.
  • Glyph of Fade – Reduces all damage taken by 10% when you Fade, which could be mighty handy.
  • Glyph of Holy Fire – Makes Holy Fire instant-cast. Doesn’t save you any time if you’re able to stand still, but could add a valuable extra tool to our healing-on-the-run toolkit.
  • Glyph of Levitate – Increases your movement speed by 10% while you’re levitating and for 10s afterwards.
  • Glyph of Penance – Allows you to cast Penance while moving, but increases the cost of Penance by 20%. If you need healing on the run this is a good bet. The cost just stops it from being a no-brainer.
  • Glyph of Power Word: Shield – Similar to the old version, but where the healing used to be a bonus, this time the healing is taken out of the absorb instead.


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MoP Priest Spells

Posted by Malevica on November - 24 - 2011

In a previous post I talked about the talents Priests will get to choose from in Mists of Pandaria. Under the new system most of the old spec-specific talents will be granted to players as they level up along with general class skills, instead of needing the investment of talent points. Yesterday Blizzard released a very early pre-alpha version of their Talent Calculator, which included lists of the spells we will acquire and the levels at which we will acquire them.

Looking at the spells and trees as posted there are some striking gaps and omissions, and some of the talent and spell descriptions don’t line up with each other. Remember that this is pre-beta information and will undoubtedly change before release. The sky is not falling! If it still looks like this a week before release, then we’ll panic.
This post, like the previous one, is simply to see what the announcements thus far suggests about the intentions of the developers and to look at how the new system may work.

Credit goes to Harpy’s Nest for getting a list up in a really handy format along with some insightful analysis, and I’d strongly recommend you head over there and check out her post then come back. I’m going to lay out the spell lists out separately, so it’s worth keeping both views in mind.
Another take comes from the legendary Derevka, who adds some very healthy ladlefuls of caution to his analysis.

And here’s mine:

Caveat: There are some big omissions in these tables, spells which seem to have vanished altogether, such as Mind Blast and Prayer of Healing. There’s also spells that don’t make sense, or which appear otherwise odd. Bashiok has already said Prayer of Healing’s absence is an oversight and that it won’t be the only quirk in these very early talent/spell lists, which makes it impossible to draw firm conclusions like “Spell X: Gone!”. Where we can draw slightly more reasonable inferences is when spells have been deliberately placed in one or another spec list, although of course even that may change dramatically.

Here’s the full quote from Bashiok:

The calculator contains elements that are experimental, still in the process of implementation, or in some cases outright failed experiments that we already intend to revise or replace. Odds are good that if it looks like we’ve forgotten some critical piece of a particular class toolkit, it’s either accounted for elsewhere, or simply a data glitch (e.g., Prayer of Healing is currently absent from the calculator – we are not taking Prayer of Healing away from priests, and Devastate for warriors probably won’t sunder armor 453%). Our hope is that revealing the calculator in this state will shed light on the philosophy behind our talent overhaul, and let you get a sense of how pieces of your core rotational gameplay, such as Hot Streak, Riptide, or Sudden Doom, fit into the new system.

The Spells

 

Class Spells

This is the set of spells that all Priests get as their baseline toolkit, which gets supplemented by their spec-specific spells.

Level Spell Tooltip
1 Smite Smite an enemy for 858 Holy damage
3 Shadow Word: Pain A word of darkness that causes 1398 Shadow damage over 18 sec.
5 Power Word: Shield Draws on the soul of the friendly target to shield them, absorbing 9123 damage. Lasts 15s. While the shield holds, spellcasting will not be interrupted by damage. Once shielded, the target cannot be shielded again for 15 sec.
7 Flash Heal Heals a friendly target for 7603.
9 Inner Fire A burst of Holy energy fills the caster, increasing the armor value from items by 60% and spell power by 2052.
18 Resurrection Brings a dead ally back to life with 35% health and mana. Cannot be cast when in combat.
22 Power Word: Fortitude Power infuses all party and raid members, increasing their stamina by 2257 for 1 hour. If the target is in your party or raid, all party and raid members will be affected.
26 Dispel Magic Dispels magic on the target, removing 2 harmful spells from yourself or 1 beneficial spell from an enemy.
32 Shadow Word: Death A word of dark binding that inflicts 408 Shadow damage to the target. Deals three times as much damage to targets below 25% health.

If the target is not killed by Shadow Word: Death, the caster takes damage equal to the damage inflicted upon the target.

34 Levitate Allows the friendly party or raid member to levitate, floating a few feet above the ground. While levitating, the target will fall at a reduced speed and travel over water. Any damage will cancel the effect. Lasts until cancelled.
38 Mind Control Controls a humanoid mind up to level 93, but increases the time between its attacks by 25%. Lasts up to 30 sec.
42 Mind Vision Allows the caster to see through the target’s eyes for 1 min. Will not work if the target is in another instance or on another continent.
50 Mysticism (Passive) Increases your Intellect by 5%
64 Shadowfiend Creates a shadowy fiend to attack the target. Caster receives 3% mana when the Shadowfiend attacks. Damage taken by area of effect attacks is reduced. Lasts 15 sec.
76 Mind Sear Causes an explosion of shadow magic around the target, causing 268 Shadow damage every 1 sec for 5 sec to all enemies within 10 yards around the target.
80 Inner Will A burst of Holy energy fills the caster, reducing the mana cost of instant cast spells by 15% and increasing your movement speed by 10%.

You can only have Inner Will or Inner Fire active at a time.

84 Leap of Faith You pull the spirit of the friendly party or raid target to you, instantly moving them directly in front of you.

 

What we see in this table is a list of basics (e.g. Flash Heal, Inner Fire/Will, Power Word: Shield, Smite, Shadow Word: Pain) and utility spells (e.g. Resurrection, Power Word: Fortitude, Levitate). The spec-specific lists are where the differentiation is to be expected.

As noted in the caveat above, Mind Blast and Mind Spike are gone entirely. I don’t expect them to have really been removed, but neither is it clear at this stage where they’ll end up. I’m hoping they’ll be shunted out to the Shadow list, leaving healing specs with fewer less-relevant abilities to worry about. Notably though all Priests keep Mind Sear and SW:P, which is good because they have specific uses. The new skill and talent system allows the developers to separate out spells far more precisely than before and declutter our spellbooks, and it’s good to see them using that.

Our Shadowy brethren will be pleased that they aren’t going to be troubled by all those pesky healing spells in their spellbook and on their bars in the future, since all but the essentials have been shifted out to the spec lists. Shadow healing is left with PW:S and Flash Heal, while the slower heals are reserved for the healing specs now.

Another notable absentee is Shadow Protection. At this stage it’s a bit early to conclude that it’s been consigned to the bin, but I can’t say I’ll miss it if it is going.

Discipline Spells
Level Spell Tooltip
10 Penance Launches a volley of holy light at the target, causing 874 Holy damage to an enemy or 3370 healing to an ally instantly and every 1 sec for 2 sec.
18 Holy Fire Consumes the enemy in Holy flames that cayse 1251 Holy damage and an additional 420 Holy damage over 7 sec.
32 Rapture (Passive) When your Power Word: Shield is completely absorbed or dispelled you are instantly energised with 7% of your total mana. This effect can only occur once every 12 sec.
34 Greater Heal A slow casting spell that heals a single target for 10136.
36 Inner Focus Reduces the mana cost of your next Flash Heal, Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing by 100% and increases its critical effect chance by 25%.
44 Evangelism (Passive) When you cast Smite, Holy Fire or Mind Flay you gain Evangelism. Stacks up to 5 times. Lasts for 20 sec.

Evangelism (Smite, Holy Fire)
Increases the damage done by your Smite, Holy Fire and Penance spells by 4% and reduces the mana cost of those spells by 6%.

Dark Evangelism (Mind Flay)
Increases the damage done by your Periodic Shadow spells by 2%.

45 Grace (Passive) Your Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Spirit Shell and Penance spells bless the target with Grace, increasing all healing received from the Priest by 10%. This effect will stack up to 3 times. Effect lasts X.
58 Pain Suppression Instantly reduces a friendly target’s threat by 5%, and reduces all damage they take by 40% for 8 sec.
66 Hymn of Hope Restores 2% mana to 3 nearby low mana friendly party or raid targets every 2 sec for 8 sec, and increases their total maximum mana by 15% for 8 sec. Maximum of 12 mana restores. The Priest must channel to maintain the spell.
68 Prayer of Mending Places a spell on the target that heals them for 3332 the next time they take damage. When the heal occurs, Prayer of Mending jumps to a party or raid member within 20 yards. Jumps up to 5 times and lasts 30 sec after each jump. This spell can only be placed on one target at a time.
70 Power Word: Barrier Summons a holy barrier on the target location that reduces all damage done to friendly targets by 25%. While within the barrier, spellcasting will not be interrupted by damage. The barrier lasts for 10 sec.
78 Train of Thought When you heal with Greater Heal, the cooldown of your Inner Focus is reduced by X sec.

When you Smite, the cooldown of your Penance is reduced by Y sec.

80 Mastery: Shield Discipline (Passive) Increases the potency of all your damage absorption spells by 20%. Each point of Mastery increases the potency of absorbs by an additional 2.5%.

 

A pretty familiar toolkit.

The healing spells have been split between Holy and Discipline in an interesting fashion: Discipline got to share Greater Heal while Holy wrested Binding Heal, Heal, Renew and Divine Hymn entirely from our fingertips. If this is how it ends up then I’ll be a little sad to lose so much of the flexibility that I’ve enjoyed as a result of playing a Priest; Discipline will be left with Flash Heal, Greater Heal and Penance for tanks and (possibly) Prayer of Healing for the raid, which really does push us squarely down the tank-healing road.

One could speculate that this is intentional, to split the Priest specs more definitively into tank- and raid-healing specs, but this doesn’t feel like the best way of achieving that goal. Then again, in 4.2 I don’t often find myself using anything on the list besides Binding Heal, I just like being able to when the situation demands it. As I’ve said, this is early days, so I’m hardly freaking out!

Another one to add to the list of notable omissions is Divine Aegis. I’d be very surprised if this didn’t make a reappearance, since it’s so central to how Discipline healing currently works.

I my previous post I speculated about who might be able to take advantage of the Archangel talent, and looking at these spell lists, Discipline is the only spec given an Evangelism spell. However, Shadow currently has no Dark Evangelism spell while the talent specifically refers to a dark version, so either the talent or the spells will have to be changed.

Holy Spells
Level Spell Tooltip
10 Holy Word: Chastise Chastise the target for 727 Holy damage, and disorients them for 3 sec.
18 Holy Fire Consumes the enemy in Holy flames that cayse 1251 Holy damage and an additional 420 Holy damage over 7 sec.
26 Renew Heals the target for 1373 every 3 sec for 12 sec.
28 Heal Heal your target for 3801.
30 Spirit of Redemption (Passive) Upon death, the priest becomes the Spirit of Redemption for 15s. The Spirit of Redemption cannot move, attack, be attacked or targeted by any spells or effects. While in this form the priest can cast any healing spell free of cost. When the effect ends, the priest dies.
32 Holy Concentration (Passive) Increases the amount of mana regeneration from Spirit while in combat by an additional 30%.
34 Greater Heal A slow casting spell that heals a single target for 10136.
36 Lightwell Creates a Holy Lightwell. Friendly players can click the lightwell to restore 11133 health over 6 sec. Attacks done to you equal to 30% of your total health will cancel the effect. Lightwell lasts for 3 min or 10 charges.
48 Binding Heal Heals a friendly target and the caster for 6085. Low threat.
50 Circle of Healing Heals up to 5 friendly party or raid members within X yards of the target for 2725. Prioritizes healing the most injured party members.
56 Chakra When activated, your next Heal, Flash Heal, Greater
Heal, Binding Heal, Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Mind Spike or Smite will put you into a Chakra state.

Serenity (Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal)
Increases the critical effect chance of your direct healing spells by 10%, and causes your direct heals to refresh the duration of your Renew on the target.

Sanctuary (Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending)
Increases the healing done by your area of effect spells and Renew by 15% and reduces the cooldown of your Circle of Healing by 2 sec.

Chastise (Smite, Mind Spike)
Increases your total damage done by Shadow and Holy spells by 15%.

68 Prayer of Mending Places a spell on the target that heals them for 3332 the next time they take damage. When the heal occurs, Prayer of Mending jumps to a party or raid member within 20 yards. Jumps up to 5 times and lasts 30 sec after each jump. This spell can only be placed on one target at a time.
70 Guardian Spirit Calls upon a guardian spirit to watch over the friendly target. The spirit increases the healing received by the target by 60%, and also prevents the target from dying by sacrificing itself. This sacrifice terminates the effect, but heals the target of 50% of their maximum health. Lasts 10 sec.
74 Revelations (Passive) While within Chakra: Serenity or Chakra: Sanctuary, your Holy Word: Chastise ability will transform into a
different ability depending on which state you are in.

Holy Word: Serenity
Instantly heals the target for 6322, and increases the critical effect chance of your healing spells on the target by 25% for 6 sec. 15 sec cooldown.

Holy Word: Sanctuary
Blesses the ground with Divine light, healing all withinit for 367 every 2 sec for 18 sec. Only one Sanctuary can be active at any one time. 40 sec cooldown.

78 Divine Hymn Heals 5 nearby lowest health friendly party or raid targets within 40 yards for 4496 every 2 sec for 8 sec, and increases healing done to them by 10% for 8 sec. Maximum of 20 heals. The Priest must channel to maintain the spell.
80 Mastery: Echo of Light (Passive) Your direct healing spells heal for an additional 10% over 6 sec. Each point of Mastery provides an additional 1.25% healing over 6 sec.

 

As noted in the Discipline section, Holy seems to have come away with the lion’s share of the juicy healing spells, at least at this stage. I’m not so concerned about Divine Hymn being Holy-only, since it slots in as the rough counterpart to Power Word: Barrier while Guardian Spirit counters Pain Suppression.

Honestly, I suspect this separation is just an artefact of the state of the spell lists when the snapshot was taken to create the talent calculator. It would be odd for Blizzard to implement a 3 Heals system in Catalcysm, praise its success, then ignore it again one expansion later.

Disciple/Holy Overlaps

There are a few overlapping spells too, listed here for completeness.

Level Spell Tooltip
18 Holy Fire Consumes the enemy in Holy flames that cayse 1251 Holy damage and an additional 420 Holy damage over 7 sec.
34 Greater Heal A slow casting spell that heals a single target for 10136.
68 Prayer of Mending Places a spell on the target that heals them for 3332 the next time they take damage. When the heal occurs, Prayer of Mending jumps to a party or raid member within 20 yards. Jumps up to 5 times and lasts 30 sec after each jump. This spell can only be placed on one target at a time.

 

Conclusions

Well, as I’ve said throughout, there’s not much to conclude at such an early stage. There are some general observations though.

I find it reassuring to see that the old familiar talent abilities haven’t all been lost, and those that are missing may well turn up again in due course. This suggests that healing won’t be changing too dramatically into MoP, which is good given that it’s had one shake-up recently.

There is a note of concern that so many of the core Priest healing spells we all know and love seem to have been given to Holy only. This might just be because of the time the snapshot was taken, it might be an oversight, it might be a deliberate design decision to nudge the classes in distinct directions. I hope they don’t go quite as far as these lists suggest, because I think that could lead to a loss of flexibility. I can understand the argument that it would simplify the class for players if you simply didn’t get given Renew, for example, if you’re in the “wrong” spec for it; I’ve heard it said that possibly Priests have ended up with too many options. But a lot of the appeal of the Priest over other healing classes, for me, is having that expanded toolkit, so I’m hoping the separation isn’t permanent.

Of course, none of this may mean anything by the time the next iteration comes around, the only real way to know how MoP will play is to get in there in the beta and try it out, which I will of course be doing as soon as it’s available!



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MoP Talents and Glyphs

Posted by Malevica on November - 24 - 2011

A quick mini-post/ramble before the Priest spells post that’ll follow shortly.

I was working my way through the recent class Q&A, and one line jumped out at me:

Prime glyphs may be removed.

Now, note the word “may” in there. This is a thought thrown out there, not a well-thought-through design plan. However it did interest me, because it occurred to me when I was thinking about the new talents that they look a little like prime glyphs on steroids, especially when they’re said to be changeable as easily as glyphs are changed now. That means not one but two things that really ought to be tweaked boss-to-boss to optimise your character for the encounter (I know you can go and respec now, but given the time cost involved it’s something I tend to reserve for the trickier progression bosses only).

Removal of prime glyphs makes a sort of sense, their function being more-or-less replaced by the new talents, which leaves glyphs pretty much where they were in WotLK, as either minor utility tweaks (Major) or purely cosmetic (Minor).

On the subject of glyphs, it would be nice to get some more cosmetic customisation options to play with, which might make glyphs more appealing if their heavy influence on gameplay is removed with the prime glyphs: a different Shadowfiend (have a look in the Botanica, there’s a few different skins there to begin with), coloured Mind Sear/Flay beams, a choice of Divine Aegis bubbles (as if!), there’s plenty that could be done.



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Categories: Opinion