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Patch Preparation

Posted by Malevica on November - 29 - 2011

I always like to be well-prepared for a new patch, and given that my guild is aiming to progress quickly through the Dragon Soul normal modes, I want to be sure I’m prepared to hit the new content.

I thought I’d share my last-minute preparation process with the world.

Step 0: Get on the PTR

This is down as Step 0 instead of Step 1 because I do regard this as semi-optional. To be as ready as possible it does help to get on the PTR and get a feel for the new content and how your class changes work in practice. More importantly it also helps Blizzard get the game as wrinkle-free as possible before the patch goes live, making for a smoother experience and fewer of those annoying restarts and maintenance issues that we all enjoy so much(!).

That said, some people don’t like playing buggy or non-final content, others would rather not spoil the surprise, or maybe, like me, you’re on a capped, low-speed internet package and an extra 16GB download just wasn’t an option. In which case, make sure you follow the remaining steps even more thoroughly.

Step 0.5: Start the Background Downloader

If you usually bypass the Launcher, or if you have downloads turned off for another reason, make sure you turn the background downloader on in plenty of time to receive the new patch. It can be several gigabytes, and you really don’t want to be panicking about a humongous download five minutes before you’re due to raid.

Get prepared well in advance and let the downloader do its thing, so you’re ready to go on release day.

Step 1: Read the Patch Notes

While there have been versions of the patch notes at the PTR has progressed, it’s always worth checking the official patch notes too, in case any last-minute changes have snuck in.

After that, check the Technical Support forum for any Known Issues lists, and it’s often worth checking Wowpedia’s lists of undocumented changes, which are updated frequently in the early days after a patch comes out.

Finally, you might try reading blogs or posts from other people who have been testing the new patch. Usually the top guilds are very active on the PTR and will test their class in depth, so they are good sources of information. For example, for healing Priests Dawn Moore of WowInsider put together a this great, handy guide.

All of this helps prevent you looking silly when a spell doesn’t do what it used to, or costs more and causes you to run OOM, or your stat priorities have shifted, or countless other ways a new patch can catch you out.

And for raiders, don’t forget to find out about other classes as well; for healers, that means knowing how the patch is going to affect your fellow healers and even your tanks.

For example, Wild Growth is getting a small nerf this patch, while Paladins’ Holy Radiance is being dramatically changed from a caster-centred AoE HoT to a spell with a 3 sec cast time which is placed on a target and which heals them and all group members within 10 yards instantly, and continues to heal them by a smaller amount every 1 sec for 3 sec. What this means is that Paladins now have very powerful (albeit very expensive) burst AoE while the raid is grouped up, and will probably push them towards a raid-healing role in certain fights, rather than being the default tank-healer.

Step 2: Read Up About the New Raids

If you’re going to be raiding soon after the patch is released then you should have at least a basic understanding of what the fights will entail so you can prepare your character’s spec and glyphs, pull out any rarely-used spells, and generally not be surprised when it hits you.

Learn2Raid and Icy Veins are two sites that have PTR strategy guides and videos to read and watch, and there are many more.

Shameless self-plug: Part of my preparation consists of not only reading and watching guides to the fights, but I also like to think about them and then synthesise a new guide; the process of re-writing helps to make sure I understand what I’ve read, and also gets me thinking about how my class fits into the encounter and what affects me the most.

Step 3: Update Your UI

Now you’ve got your knowledge base assembled, but before you log into the game, you should visit the main addon sites and update any addons you use, especially ones you rely on heavily such as DBM.

With boss mods, it’s important to download the alpha or beta package if it’s available because that will have the very latest updates, added sometimes on a minute-by-minute basis. Get it from the authors themselves too, even the beta versions on Curse are several revisions out of date, and that all matters when you’re pushing progression.
And forget about the “release” version. DBM’s release package is usually not updated for as much as a couple of weeks after a patch is released, so that the authors are absolutely sure it’s correct before stamping it with the official seal of approval, which can leave you with a very underwhelming boss mod for the first lockout.

Beyond boss mods, many authors, particularly those responsible for the popular addons will have been on the PTR to test their code and if at all possible they will make sure it works smoothly on release day. And don’t forget to update again before your first raid, because there may well be a number of addons that have been updated during the day.
And don’t forget to tick “Load out of date addons” on the addons page of the character selection screen; many addons do not need more than a version update to work fine with a new patch, but you can always disable those which are problematic.

If you want to be extra-safe you can have backups lined up, just in case one of your addons doesn’t work and hasn’t been updated and you need a replacement. XPerl or Shadowed Unit Frames instead of Pitbull, for example, or VuhDo instead of Healbot or Grid.

And finally on this subject, if an addon you use isn’t updated, don’t go and rage about it, especially not to the author(s). They make addons for nothing, and it’s something they do in their free time. If you can offer practical help that may be welcomed, but otherwise just wait patiently and trust that the addon author is working on it.

Step 4: Make a Wanted List, and Prioritise It

Gear lists abound just before a patch, so they’re a good place to start.

In the early days the priority isn’t to get your Best in Slot, just to get your gear upgraded as quickly as possible; BiS can come later when you’ve got more time to spend. So at this stage you’re looking for the low-hanging fruit, the quick gains, and that means the Auction House, the 5-mans, anything that can be bought with Valor Points and anything you didn’t get round to buying in 4.2 which you can now afford thanks to it costing Justice Points instead.

In 4.3, the new 5-man instances drop ilvl 378 gear, the same as normal mode Firelands, so look down the lists and see if there’s any items that are either a direct upgrade to your current gear or which are better-itemised than what you’re currently wearing. For Tellisa I’m considering going for the Foul Gift of the Demon Lord as an alternative to my normal Jaws of Defeat for a output boost, and perhaps the Scepter of Azshara so I have an acceptable main-hand if an off-hand drops while raiding.

Because of the VP cap the only thing that will be purchasable in the first week will be the wands/thrown/relics at 700 VP each. If you’re running a few 4.3 5-mans anyway you may be able to pick up an upgrade, but remember these are ilvl 397, so if you have an ilvl 391 version already from the last tier you might be better off saving your VPs and getting a bigger upgrade in week 2. I know what I said earlier about ignoring BiS, but 6 ilvl points on a relic slot really is a miserly upgrade.

As for BoEs, don’t count on getting your hands on the craftables (Dreamwraps of the Light and World Mender’s Pants, for healing Priests) in the first few weeks because it’ll take time for the patterns and the Essences of Destruction to drop, and guilds will tend to gear up internally first before putting these items on the AH.

There are some other BoEs listed on Wowhead; although they don’t have a drop location yet they probably come from Dragon Soul trash. For healing Priests the Sash of Relentless Truth looks promising, for example. Early in a new tier the raid trash drops are either very unavailable or very expensive, but if you have deep enough pockets you may just get lucky.
Edit: There is also the Drapes of the Dragonshrine, a drop from the Hour of Twilight, which might be useful if you haven’t got the Avengers of Hyjal cloak yet.

However much or little you need to gather, the key thing is to have a plan so that you can focus your time on the most valuable things first.

Step 5: Log In Early

The final piece of advice I always follow is to log in as early as possible, even if you then /afk in Stormwind while you go off and do whatever it is you usually do before your evening WoW session.

There are multiple reasons for this: you might find you have more data to download, in which case you either have time to download and install it or you have time to let your guild-mates know why you’re running late; there might be a queue for your realm if it’s high population and there’s a lot of people itching to jump back in; you might log in and find your UI is a total mess and needs addon replacement or setting up again; or you might need to respec or reforge.

All of these things take time, and you don’t want to be doing them in a rush because it’ll only spoil your enjoyment of the new content.

Step 6: … Profit!

You’ve done the prep work, you know your class changes and what the new raid, dungeons and other content has in store for you, and your UI is working beautifully. Now you’re ready to get started exploring the new content.

Good luck, and have fun!

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4.3 and the Disc Priest

Posted by Malevica on September - 29 - 2011

Edit: Updated for the changes announced September 29th, about an hour before this went up. Typical…

The last couple of days saw not only the announcement of the much-anticipated (at least around here) Tier 13 Priest gear and set bonuses, but also the more widely anticipated 4.3 PTR patch notes.

So, what’s in store?

The New Outfit

Also available in tasteful blue or red, depending on your raiding tier of choice.

After my initial “WTF!” reaction, I sat and looked at the set for a while and it really grew on me. There’s definitely something Priestly about it, but not the gentle, friendly image of a Priest but instead has us putting our serious face on (literally), filling ourselves with smouldering, barely-restrained power of the Light and getting prepared for the grave business of taking on Deathwing.

How badass it’ll manage to look on a gnome though is anyone’s guess…

Set Bonuses

First, the bonuses themselves:

Healer, 2P — After using Power Infusion or Divine Hymn, the mana cost of your healing spells is reduced by 25% for [10|15 23] sec. (10 sec for Discipline, 15 23 for non-Discipline.)

Healer, 4P — Your Power Word: Shield has a 10% chance to absorb 100% additional damage and increase the mana granted by Rapture by 100%, and the cooldown duration of your Holy Word abilities is decreased increased by 20%.

Source | Changes from the first iteration of the bonuses are crossed out or in bold.

Before we delve in, a public health notice: these are very early ideas, are almost certain to be changed (as indeed it has already), and so on, you know the rest. I don’t usually like dissecting such early information, but it can be interesting to see where the developers’ thinking is on the subject.

So, let’s take a look.

The 2-piece bonus is still a head-scratcher at first glance. It’s been pointed out on EJ and elsewhere that this presents Disc Priests with something of a question: should we be casting Power Infusion on cooldown just for the mana reduction, or should we be saving it for when we actually need the throughput. PI has a split personality already, with the throughput and mana saving components. I find myself mostly using it as a throughput cooldown, popping it when I shift to the AoE-heavy part of a fight; I benefit from the mana reduction too of course, since PoH and PW:S aren’t exactly cheap, but the driver for its use is throughput, not mana.

If you really want to theorycraft the bonus you have to consider each fight, the circumstances in which you might want to use PI as a throughput cooldown and consider the opportunity cost (in mana) of keeping it off cooldown for special occasions rather than auto-casting it; that difference changes the on-paper value of the set bonus. I doubt you’ll decide to skip the bonus in favour of off-set gear because of it, but I do expect the numbers to go up a bit following real-world testing, to give a higher actual-fight MP5 equivalent.

Of course, those high-throughput moments are precisely when I’m likely to be hitting my expensive spells, so in that sense the bonus has some logic to it, it should help me get the best value from it. The Holy bonus doesn’t seem to have the same logic though; Lightwell isn’t really something you save for a sticky moment, I’d have thought you’d use it more or less on cooldown anyway. I can’t think of a better choice of spell off the top of my head though. Lightwell has now been changed to Divine Hymn, which is a better choice – a spell associated with a high-throughput moment where you will be casting big, expensive spells.

The 4-piece bonus for Discipline is, for me, uninspiring really. Every 10 times you cast PW:S (on average), it’ll absorb twice as much and give a double-sized Rapture proc. Now this in itself is a decent bonus: even raid-healing Disc Priests bubble someone at least every 12-15s for Rapture, so as long as you’re using PW:S regularly (probably on a tank to make sure it’s used) you should get the benefit. This may slightly penalise the use of PW:S as a pure raid-healing spell though, because a larger bubble is less likely to be totally consumed and possibly end up preventing what might otherwise have turned into a Rapture proc. Raid healers might think twice depending on their typical usage of PW:S, but for tank-healing it’s a solid bonus.

My problem is that in essence it’s a slightly unreliable but passive throughput and regen boost. I don’t object to fire-and-forget boosts, that’s what my Cauterising Flame is after all, but they don’t excite me much when I can’t see them except on the meters.

Aesthetics aside it’s a good bonus for a tank healer, and it’d be decent even for a raid healer because PW:S is fairly sparsely used anyway I’d just hoped for something a bit more fun.The 2-piece seems designed either to take advantage of or to encourage a more frequent use of Power Infusion and Divine Hymn, while the 4-piece is a simple output and regen boost as long as you use PW:S regularly.

(Incidentally, having got my 4-piece last week I had enormous fun freaking my tanks out on our next week’s Rag attempts by putting fiery circles near their feet. I’m not sure who thought of the bonus animation, but they have a wicked streak!)

The Patch

As usual, very little for Priests in the patch notes, although what there is is definitely worth a look:

Divine Hymn now affects 5 targets, up from 3.

Discipline
Atonement will now account for the target enemy’s combat reach when calculating proper range, enabling it to be used on large creatures such as Ragnaros and Ala’kir.
Divine Aegis has a new spell effect.

Holy
Spirit of Redemption has been rebuilt to address a few functionality issues and make it more responsive. Spirit of Redemption otherwise remains unchanged.
State of Mind has been redesigned and is now called Heavenly Voice. Heavenly Voice increases the healing done by Divine Hymn by 50/100%, and reduces the cooldown of Divine Hymn by 2.5/5 minutes.

Glyphs
Glyph of Circle of Healing now also increases the mana cost of Circle of Healing by 20%.

Source

For Disc, the big change of course is the new Divine Aegis bubble!

Ahem. Yes, unfortunately when I logged into the PTR client today it looked exactly the same as the PW:S graphic still. I’ll keep you posted if it changes though.

OK, more seriously, the Atonement change. Finally, two tiers later, Atonement works off the boss’s hitbox rather than the boss’s centre. I presume there must have been something big and scary and technical preventing this change from making it in earlier, or perhaps Ragnaros brought it to a head in a way that Al’Akir didn’t manage to. Anyway, good news.

Finally, a small buff to Divine Hymn for all Priests, with it healing 5 targets rather than 3. That should help its throughput for both specs, although Holy gets a much improved version as their new raid cooldown: double the healing and a 3-minute cooldown means Holy has its own Tranquility to play with. Now my initial reaction was (of course) to get all angsty and bitter, but actually there have been several fights where I’ve felt I could have been more comfortable as Holy but ended up muddling through as Disc because of the combination of PW:Barrier and an AoE phase. Now that Holy gets a powerful raid cooldown of its own the dual-spec option opens right back up again, and that can only be a good thing for the class. It’s no nerf to Disc, just a rebalancing of the specs in the sorts of bursty fights where Disc currently dominates because of a single spell. GC agrees.

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Categories: Opinion

The (Not So) Short Guide to Discipline 4.1

Posted by Malevica on April - 26 - 2011

4.1 is upon us, so here’s a quick guide to how it will affect you as a raiding Disc Priest. (This is by no means exhaustive and I reserve the right to edit it over the coming days).

Discipline Highlights

Divine Aegis duration has been increased to 15 seconds, up from 12.
Power Word: Shield duration has been reduced to 15 seconds, down from 30.

This pair of changes is intended to limit any temptation Disc Priests might feel to drift back to bubble-spamming again, particularly as gear levels and therefore mana regeneration improves. The change to PW:S’s duration should be something that most Priests won’t really notice, since I doubt many of us were blanketing the raid before this change.

The DA change is a nice improvement though. In 25-man raids there are a few occasions where maintaining DA on all 5 groups was useful, and a 12s duration made that difficult/impossible. For example, on Atramedes you could rotate PoH across each group to heal them up after Modulation and put up a protective DA bubble for the next one, this extra time allows you room to refresh it on the first groups with a follow-up PoH.

Power Word: Barrier’s cooldown has been increased to 3 minutes, up from 2, and its effect has been reduced to 25%, down from 30%.

Blacksen did a really in-depth write-up of the changes to the cooldowns across the classes that are in 4.1, so I’d direct you there if you’re interested.

The changes to PW:B (and Divine Guardian) seem intended to bring all the main cooldowns into line with each other, setting 3 minutes as the standard duration and presumably bringing the effectiveness in line as well. This probably has advantages both in terms of encounter design (where the number and strength of available cooldowns per minute is better-known to the developers, boss specials can be better-designed around this figure) and in terms of raid balance (when every cooldown is on the same interval and has approximately the same effectiveness, that removes one reason for picking one class over another).

As a Disc Priest I’m obviously slightly disappointed to be nerfed, but the change from 30% to 25% isn’t game-breaking and if that’s what it takes to better balance the raid cooldowns then I’ll trust Blizzard’s judgement on this one.

Holy Fire damage has been increased to be approximately 30% higher than Smite.
Atonement now works with Holy Fire in addition to Smite.
The direct damage portion of Holy Fire can now trigger Evangelism.
Glyph of Divine Accuracy now also affects Holy Fire in addition to Smite.

A whole raft of changes to the Atonement/Archangel/Evangelism healing style here.

The short version is that Atonement and Evangelism have been changed to incorporate Holy Fire as well as Smite: HF will heal with Atonement and the initial hit will also add a stack of Evangelism. To help facilitate this, the change to the Glyph of Divine Accuracy removes the annoying risk of wasted time (and possibly a dead tank) due to a missed HF.

These changes mean that HF should be an integral part of the AAE rotation again. The bump to the output of Holy Fire is a straight throughput increase for the rotation, and of course now that we’re casting HF routinely and without penalty the Glyph of Smite reprises its place amongst our Major Glyphs, for another flat 20% increase to the output of the AAE style.

Of course, the AAE approach still isn’t as predictable as directly healing your target when there’s multiple possible targets for the Atonement heal to land on, but where it is usable you should see significantly improved results. As an enthusiastic supporter of the AAE spec I’m rather pleased about the output buff as well as being encouraged to add an extra spell to the rotation.

The Rest

Dispel Magic can only be used on the casting priest as a baseline effect.
Discipline and Holy: Absolution (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.

This change shouldn’t make any difference to Discipline or Holy specced Priests, but if you’re accustomed to having your Shadow brethren help with dispels in a pinch then you’ll need to rethink that from now on.

Note that this doesn’t affect our ability to offensively Dispel, regardless of spec. Not a surprise there, it wouldn’t be in keeping with Blizzard’s current direction if they narrowed the number of range of specs with offensive Dispels.

Inner Will and Inner Fire now last until canceled.

A nice quality of life change here.

OK, it’s not the biggest deal, but it’s technically a buff!

Priests now innately have 100% pushback protection from damage while channeling Divine Hymn and Hymn of Hope.

This is a much bigger deal. Even if you bubbled yourself just before starting the channel this would often not be enough to get you through without losing at least one tick of the channels, and particularly in the case of Divine Hymn this could cost a significant chunk of healing when you need it most.

As with the other raid cooldown changes I see this as a measure to normalise the effect, making it more predictable and thus better-balanced and easier to design around.

It is now possible to remove Weakened Soul effects that were a result of another priest’s Power Word: Shield through Strength of Soul.

I suppose if you had multiple Disc Priests in raids, or a particularly bubble-happy Holy Priest, this could be helpful. It’s a nice, sensible change anyway.

Mind Sear damage has been doubled.

When you have a burning desire to break the CC on those tricky trash pulls, now you can do it slightly harder ;-)

Other Healers

Druid: Efflorescence has been redesigned. It creates a healing zone at the feet of a Swiftmend target, but this healing zone now restores health equal to 4/8/12% of the amount healed by Swiftmend to the three most injured targets within 8 yards, every 1 second for 7 seconds. This periodic effect now also benefits from spell haste, but the individual ticks cannot be critical effects.

In case you’d missed the memo, this is a buff to Efflorescence overall, making it like a much lighter, area-limited version of Divine Hymn. However, from our perspective as a non-Druid, we need to be aware of this change. When there are a lot of players inside the Efflorescence zone, the new version will bring up the lowest health bars but leave the higher ones alone, while the previous incarnation would have brought everyone up equally.

When it’s important to top off the group (before an Electrocute, for example), you might be better off focusing on the groups and players with the smallest health deficits rather than those most injured, since you’re now competing with yet another smart heal on the most injured players.

Shaman: Spirit Link Totem (new talent) reduces damage taken by all party and raid members within 10 yards by 10%. This lasts 6 seconds, and every second it is active the health of all affected players is redistributed among them, such that each player ends up with the same percentage of their maximum health. This counts as an Air totem and has a 3-minute cooldown.

This new raid cooldown is going to prove very interesting; Again, I’m going to refer you over to Blacksen’s End for a very detailed write-up with examples.

Spirit Link Totem is a sort of combination of PW:B and Divine Hymn, in that it both reduces damage taken and helps rescue people from the brink of death. The value of the totem very strongly depends on the nature of the damage being taken. Consider the following examples:

  1. Chimaeron’s Feud Phase – If you use it on the raid, Spirit Link Totem is essentially reduced to a 10% damage reduction here; everyone is taking similar damage and therefore their health pools will all be roughly even, leaving little room for health redistribution.
  2. Omnotron Defense System (Arcanotron) – In this case the damage from Arcane Annihilator is focused on 3 people (on 25-man) at a time, so Spirit Link Totem looks like a great tool to bring their health back up by taking a small amount from the health bars of everyone around them. However the spread-out nature of the fight, combined with the relatively small 10-yard range of the Totem, means that the effectiveness is significantly reduced.
  3. Cho’gall – Whenever Cho’gall has Flame’s Orders or high stacks of Twisted Devotion the tank will be taking unusually high damage while the raid will not. Under these circumstances, where the Totem has time for its redistribution effect to work, this can significantly reduce the net damage the tank takes by effectively spreading it out across the melee/raid.
    You might also be able to use this to good effect in the final phase if the redistribution is not affected by the healing reduction of the tentacles; I’ve not tested to see if this is the case, but if so, it opens up some interesting possibilities.

Warrior: Rallying Cry (new ability) is available from trainers at level 83. It temporarily grants the warrior and all party or raid members within 30 yards 20% of maximum health for 10 seconds. After the effect expires, the health is lost. It has no cost, no stance requirements, and is not on the global cooldown. It has a 3-minute cooldown, but also shares a cooldown with Last Stand.

You’d be well-advised to keep your eyes peeled for this one, to make sure that when it ends everyone is over 20% HP. It could be very handy, for example, on Chimaeron if the raid is in danger of dying during the Feud, or on Chimaeron Heroic to extend the final phase for a few seconds longer if people are in danger of dying to the soft enrage (Mocking Shadows) as you might be on your early attempts.

General Changes

The Dungeon Finder: Call to Arms will now identify which class role is currently the least represented in the queue, and offer them additional rewards for entering the Dungeon Finder queue and completing a random level-85 Heroic dungeon.
The least represented class icon will show within the Dungeon Finder to indicate the role that is eligible to earn the bonus reward.
Players must queue solo with the currently indicated least represented class (by the system) and complete the dungeon up to and including the final boss in order to be eligible for the bonus reward [… which may include]: gold, rare gems, non-combat pets, and (very rare) mounts.

While most of the shortages these days tend to be tank shortages, it’s quite possible that we’ll find healers in demand from time to time. It’s also possible (at least it was on the PTR) to have more than one Call to Arms active at the same time, depending on how the thresholds are set up we might see a healing Call to Arms fairly often or very rarely indeed; only time will tell.

A dead player can now be resurrected by targeting them using the Party or Raid Frame even if they have released. No more hunting for corpses.

About time too. I wonder if this will also fix the problem of someone releasing during a resurrection cast.

Conquest Points are now purchasable from the Valor Quartermasters at 250 Conquest Points per 250 Valor Points.
Honor Points are now purchasable from the Justice Trade Goods vendors at 250 Honor Points per 375 Justice Points.
Justice Points are now purchasable from the Honor Trade Goods vendors at 250 Justice Points per 375 Honor Points.

If you’re gearing a new toon then being able to spend some time in PvP and translate that time into PvE points, albeit at a 50% mark-up, could prove quite appealing. Similarly, another outlet to bleed off excess Justice points, this time into Honor points to build up a PvP set, is a welcome addition.

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Healing Changes in 3.3.3

Posted by Malevica on March - 25 - 2010

A short post, mostly for historical reference, looking at how the 3.3.3 patch has affected healing for the four classes.

This patch mostly focuses on PvP and bugfixes, but there are a few small changes which will affect PvE healing.

Priest

Changes

The big change for priests is that the Tier 10 4-Piece Set Bonus has been changed. This has been discussed elsewhere already , so I’ll refer elsewhere for the detailed discussion. The short version is that the proc to reset the Penance or CoH cooldowns is gone, replaced by a flat increase to Power Word: Shield of 5% and to Circle of Healing of 10%.
Personally, having played as a Disc Priest with the old 4-piece bonus briefly, I think this is a slight loss to flexibility and 10-man Disc healing, but probably a boost to 25-man healing which is more bubble-heavy. Shame they gave us this at the same time they changed Incanter’s Absorption though.

Also applicable to Disc Priest is the fix which adds PW:S to the list of abilities affected by Hellscream’s Warsong / Strength of Wrynn, along with Sacred Shield for Paladins.

The change to Renewed Hope, giving it a 60-second duration, up from 20 seconds, but a 15-second cooldown, is part of a general change aimed at reducing the constant refreshing of on-proc buffs, and reducing the chance of these buffs falling off. Basically a neutral change, although it may have minor performance benefits. MSBT is breathing a sigh of relief anyway.

Bugfixes

  • Lightwell: Tooltip change to reflect that any friendly player can use the Lightwell
  • Divine Spirit: Fixed a bug preventing this spell from overwriting Prayer of Spirit correctly
  • Renewed Hope: Applying this spell no longer causes combat pet abilities to trigger a global cooldown.
  • Glyph of Power Word: Shield: The heal produced from this glyph is now more correctly treated as heal for purposes of procing effects that are caused by heals, such as Divine Aegis and the weapon Trauma.
  • Glyph of Prayer of Healing: This glyph will now always heal all affected targets by the correct amount.

I’ve not noticed these causing trouble personally, but if you have, rejoice!

Known Issues

There is a new bug which has arisen, which can cause Spirit of Redemption form to be lost upon casting “certain spells” (Source). Expect a hotfix soon.

Edit: As of March 27th, the 3.3.3a patch, this is fixed.

Bati from HolyNovaNow has spotted Divine Aegis being credited with unusually high amounts of healing (>30% of total, for a start) in WoL reports. This might be a problem with WoL and a slightly changed combat log output, since WoL can only estimate absorbs.
On the other hand, she also runs with multiple Discipline Priests per raid, so it’s possible WoL is simply failing to separate out the DA absorbs and crediting each Priest with some or all of the DA caused by other players.
We’ll have to see how this plays out.

Paladin

Changes

Generally all’s quiet on the Paladin front. The only change is the addition of Sacred Shield to the spells affected by Hellscream’s Warsong / Strength of Wrynn.

Bugfixes

  • Divine Guardian: This talent will no longer incorrectly modify the tooltip of Sacred Shield
  • Lay On Hands: Tooltip clarified to better explain this ability’s interactions with Divine Shield, Divine Protection and Hand of Protection

I presume the latter is clarifying the 30s shared cooldown hotfixed in over the last few patches.

Shaman

Changes

As with Paladins, very little has been changed for Restoration either.

It might be worth noting that Flame Shock has been buffed to allow the DoT component to crit and to be affected by haste, so it might be more valuable to DoT up bosses between heals.

Bugfixes

  • Earthliving Weapon: Fixed a bug where the glyph was not boosting Earthliving proc chance.
  • Tier-10 Restoration 2-Piece Set Bonus: Rapid Currents will no longer be consumed if Nature’s Swiftness is already active.
  • Tier-10 Restoration 4-Piece Set Bonus: The heal-over-time effect from this set bonus now works correctly with the weapon Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings. In addition, to prevent confusion, the heal-over-time effect has been renamed Chained Heal.

The top one seems pretty major to me. I’d not come across it as a problem, so perhaps it was limited to certain circumstances.

Druid

Changes

No noted changes to Restoration.

Solo players might be interested to note that Nature’s Grasp now has three charges, although as far as I know it can still only affect one target at a time. I might actually bother keeping the buff on myself now.

Bugfixes

  • Hurricane: If a Druid begins casting this spell while in Bear Form, Dire Bear Form or Cat Form, the spell will now cast as normal instead of immediately cancelling the channel.

No mention of Tree of Life Form. I’ll have to check if the fix has been applied across the board or not. It would be great if this is fixed though, for those boring heroics with 6k GS tanks AOE-tanking rooms at a time without the common courtesy to take damage!

Edit: tested and confirmed that this works in Tree Form as well. Bye bye /cancelform macro!

  • Lifebloom: The final bloom heal from this spell can no longer trigger talents, trinkets and set bonuses for the player being healed.
  • Tranquility: The combat log tooltip for this ability will no longer spuriously claim a range of 100 yards
  • Tree of Life Form: Corrected a misspelling in the tooltip.
  • Tier-10 Restoration 4-piece Set Bonus: The Rejuvenation effect caused by this set bonus can now be overwritten by the Druid’s own Rejuvenation spell casts. In addition, the combat log tooltip for this Rejuvenation effect no longer spuriously claims it requires Tree of Life Form.

Little need to comment on these. I’ve not had the opportunity to play with Druid T10, so I can’t comment on the last bugfix.
The first change is interesting. Heals like Lifebloom and Prayer of Mending still seem to retain a few obscure holdovers from the old implementation where they were “cast” by the player they healed, and they get unearthed and fixed every now and then.

Encounters

Not much in the way of encounter fixes either, although the biggie is that the Pact of the Darkfallen on the Blood Queen Lana’thel encounter has been changed to tick twice as often but half as hard, to “make the removal of the spell a bit more responsive”. Sounds like a good change to me, and reducing the impact of that big smash if the three players were close but not close enough can only be a good thing.

General

Basically things which aren’t strictly healing changes, but things I pulled out as interesting.

The most healing-relevant change is that a number of on-proc raid buffs have been made passive and longer-range. Shaman totems and Paladin auras are excluded though, by design. Reducing combat log or combat text spam can only be a positive thing, as is making the coverage of these buffs more consistent.

Beyond this there are a few quality-of-life changes I particularly like:

  • The Argent Crusader’s Tabard apparently no longer has a 30s on-equip cooldown. And only six months too late! Still, better late than never.
  • Minimizing the game client while auto-following another player will no longer cancel the follow command.
  • Raid marks can be used without being in a party.

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