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Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

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

Mists of Pandaria Talents

Posted by Malevica on November - 8 - 2011

Ok, before I get into the talent system and the ideas that have been floated for the Priest class in MoP, I should put on the record my views about the Pandaren.

Here it comes: I’m really not bothered either way. I also have my doubts that something as small as a new race will truly ruin the game for many people all by itself.

After all, we have hooved and tentacled Draenei, giant walking cows, the extremely silly Tuskarr and, the one that would have ruined the game for me if anything was going to: the Worgen. Seriously, there must be someone at Blizzard with a real English accent that they could have been used, surely? Or give me a call, I’ll voice some lines for you. Anyway, that was a year ago, time I was getting over it. The point is, WoW is a tongue-in-cheek game, and will continue to be in the future; if you really want proper high fantasy, this probably isn’t the franchise for you.

The way I look at it is to ask myself how often I actually look at the races in the game? When I go to create a new character, or when I interact with a key NPC like the Druid trainer in Stormwind. Otherwise, I just don’t notice people’s races except in passing. It took me a fortnight to realise our new rogue was a Worgen, and even then it was only because I caught him in close-up and thought he was moving oddly. I might play one to see how they look and feel, I might even look on in snobby amusement at the 4 flavour-of-the-month Pandaren in Maraudon with me as I level yet another Priest, and I’ll certainly be on the lookout for the slew of panda-based puns that will inevitably follow, but that’s as far as Pandaren will really affect my experience.

Until they sit right on top of my fish feast with their enormous furry behinds, that is…

The New Talent System

Right, off the soapbox again!

Here’s the short version of the new talent system, just in case there’s someone out there who hasn’t heard yet: each class still has three specialisations (except Druids who get an extra new one to allow bears and cats to have their own specialisation), but instead of having talent trees tied to each specialisation there’s now a single “tree” per class. Every 15 levels you have to choose between three talents which are broadly similar in goal but different in their details. All those spec-specific spells and boosts that you used to have to talent into are now going to be granted automatically as you level.

The developers have always said that they wanted talents to be used to differentiate your character and to specialise. The trouble is that you can’t give players a new spell every level, so most of the talent points end up being spent on things that reduce the cooldown on spell X or increase the damage of spell Y. Some of those talents were stripped away with Cataclysm when the number of talent points was dropped from (potentially) 76 to 41, but the developers clearly didn’t feel that had had enough of an effect for their taste.

My experience in Cataclysm has more or less borne that out. There is arguably more choice than there used to be, but cookie-cutter specs, theory-crafted decisions and “filler talents” still predominate. At the most you get a handful of talents to play with, the rest are “mandatory”, so the new system simply grants you all those “mandatory” talents as you level (with no need to visit the trainer), and lets you pick the utility talents directly.

The developers have stated that they want talents and talent choices to be switched with a similar level of difficulty as glyphs, which to me seems like a good thing. I like the flexibilty of glyphs in their current form (although I find the range of choices still far too limited) because it gives you the option to switch a few glyphs in and out between pulls to tweak your character for the needs of the encounter you’re facing. If talents go down the same road, that would be a fantastic source of optimisation and a great way of customising your character to your playstyle and the needs of your raid group.

A closer Look

Wowhead, on top of this sort of thing as usual, has a Mists of Pandaria Talent Calculator up on their site so you can check out the current iteration of the talents for you classes of choice. I’m going to go through the Priest talents, to see what sort of choices we’re likely to be making in the next expansion.

Here’s the tree as of November 8th, 2011:

Mists of Pandaria Priest Talents as of November 8th, 2011

Level 15 – Crowd Control

Here you have the choice between a small-radius mass root on a moderate cooldown (which I will not be able to say in my Kiwi guild without hilarity ensuing!), a multi-target long-range fear with a long cooldown, and the Psychic Scream we all know and love.

This is an interesting choice where different situations will favour different talent choices. Psyfiend feels a little bit more like a soloing/PvP talent than a raiding one, although maybe I’m not seeing the niche. The choice between an AoE fear and AoE root is more interesting though. Using existing content for example, rooting Sons of Flame would be more use than fearing them so you can control their direction, whereas in encounters with dangerous melee adds such as the Blood Beasts back in ICC a “proper” CC like a fear would be more useful than a root. Assuming that those two abilities applied to those creature types, of course.

Level 30 – Mobility

The choice at level 30 is all about movement – yours and the raid’s. You’re choosing from the current Body and Soul, a self-applied 25% movement increase while levitating, and a get-out-of-roots Escape Artist-alike.

Again, you have a choice depending on your situation. If you’re taking damage so that Levitate just won’t stay up, then Path of the Devout probably won’t be of much use. But for getting around dungeons or running around during an encounter it could be brilliant, especially since Levitate is instant-cast. I can see that being very handy for a number of mechanics, like getting behind Meteors on Alysrazor or getting away from Sindragosa before the Blistering Cold gets you.

If you don’t personally need the speed boost, you might instead pick Body and Soul to help your team-mates with kiting or getting out of the bad quicker. I love that Body and Soul has been opened up to all specs now, because it’s a fantastic utility spell that I’ve definitely missed since switching to Discipline.

Phantasm may take more care to find uses for it, especially since many boss root effects aren’t removable, but there are effects like heroic Beth’tilac’s Volatile Poison which this would be very handy for.

Level 45 – Healing (and Damage-dealing) Goodies

At level 45 the choice is a bit more diverse. The three talents broadly give you some way to boost your output or your efficiency, depending on your taste.

From Darkness, Comes Light (complete with bonus comma) in its healing form is the good old Surge of Light talent. You get a low but non-zero change to proc a free, instant Flash Heal. This can be a nice way of throwing a quick decent-sized heal on someone for no cost, or a simple efficiency boost.

The most interesting is Divine Star, which travels 20 yards in front of you, healing (and damaging) anything in its path, before turning around and doing the same on the way back. Sort of Light of Dawn meets Flame Orb. This could be very handy when the raid can be grouped up, but probably not so valuable on spread-out encounters, depending on the range.

Finally we have Archangel. If Archangel is going to be a viable choice for all three specs then it has to be something which is going to be granted to all three Priest specs as part of our standard toolkit, which is cool in itself. So assuming you have the opportunity to stack Evangelism, the Archangel talent gives you a pretty significant healing boost every 30 seconds, which would be great for encounters with alternating heavy and light damage phases.

Level 60 – Self-defence

At level 60, you get a selection of talents designed to keep you alive. You have Desperate Prayer for a quick 30% heal every 2 minutes, Angelic Bulwark for a permanent 30% buff to your shield effects on yourself, and Final Prayer for a stay of execution when your health drops very low.

Probably the easiest to understand is Desperate Prayer, although with such a long cooldown its utility might be limited.

Angelic Bulwark is a nice talent if you’re taking a lot of damage and are going to get the value from the larger shields. AoE-heavy fights might be one good example, or a fight where you’re soaking a debuff or DoT. It also sounds like a good pick for soloing and PvP where personal protection is high on the agenda and shields are used frequently.

Final Prayer is a complex talent. Essentially, it grants you a chance to live where you might otherwise have died, and it’s passive, although it has an internal cooldown of 90 seconds. Where might this be useful? Back to Majordomo, you get Leaping Flames on you. If you’re a little slow to react and get out, Final Prayer pops up and gives you an extra 20% of your HP as an absorb bubble, soaking up an extra tick that might otherwise have left you perilously low or even dead. All while you’re running out. You could achieve the same with a self-bubble or Pain Suppression, of course, so you’ll need to weight up the advantages to you of the passive nature of Final Prayer versus the other talents available.

Level 75 – More Goodies

Another eclectic mix at level 75: a buff to damage and healing to targets below 25% HP, our old friend Power Infusion, and the haste boost of Serendipity.

You can rule Twist of Fate in or out depending on the fight mechanics and damage profile, because it will either be near-useless or godlike depending on where those green bars spend their time, but the choice between Power Infusion and Serendipity is going to be tough.

As they stand at the moment, if you need a throughput boost and your mana will take the strain then Serendipity looks like the better pick. On the other hand, Power Infusion is a strong personal cooldown for efficiency as well as throughput, and also has application to the rest of the raid as well. So when DPS checks are your biggest problem you might want to plump for PI to help out your friendly neighbourhood damage-dealer and pay them back for all the Focus Magics over the months.

Level 90 – Tank Cooldowns and More

Here’s where things really get interesting. Two life-saving single-target cooldowns or AoE-Atonement-Lite.

First up is Vow of Unity. This one looks a lot like Hand of Sacrifice. Throw it on your tank, for example, and half the damage she takes is instead applied to you; to stop this from killing you, you also heal yourself for 20% of the healing you do to the target, and the rate of damage transferred to you is capped because if the target takes a larger hit than 30% of the target’s HP the effect is broken. What’s not clear to me is whether the hit is transferred anyway and then the transfer ends, or if too large a hit simply doesn’t transfer.

The other option you have for saving someone’s bacon is Void Shift, where you swap HP with a friendly player. Again, it’s not clear is if this is temporary or permanent. If it’s temporary, then if, say, your tank is near-death and you can’t get heals in quickly enough, you can loan her your health bar for a while, buying time for the other healers to switch in or for the enrage or whatever caused the problem to dissipate. You will still need to heal the damage up before the bars swap back though, so that’s something that might catch people out.
If it’s permanent, you just give your tank whatever health you had last, while you inherit their near-empty health bar, although you get a quick free heal for yourself to keep you out of the danger zone.
I rather hope the second case is what we’ll get, but at this point it’s not clear. The confusion comes from the words “when the effect ends”.

Picking between the two is going to end up being one part personal preference to one part damage profile. Vow of Unity seems like it’s positioned as a more conventional tank cooldown for when a tank (or other player) is going to take a lot of damage, probably over a sustained period like when picking up a few extra adds or when a boss gains a temporary enrage. Void Shift will probably be more useful after a single larger hit or when a healer is taken out of commission, because it’s more of a quick “buying time” ability than a proper damage-reduction ability. That 30% figure is one to bear in mind though, to make sure you’re not losing the benefit earlier than necessary.

Finally, we have Vampiric Dominance, which lets 15% of your damage and healing “splash” to up to three nearby targets, chosen smartly. Those who remember the old Paladin Glyph of Holy Light will find this talent familiar. A great talent when there’s players grouped up, how useful it is when we’re spread out will depend on the radius, really. Which way you go at level 90 is a choice between AoE-heavy and tank-heavy fights.


Looking at the abilities in the tree, it’s clear that the developers have tried to play up the “choice” angle and play down the “buff” angle. Although you have abilities that will buff you, they’re interesting mechanics, procs and abilities rather than stat boosts. At each tier you have options that may be more or less useful depending on your playstyle and the demands of the encounter, such as the choice between Body and Soul that can be used on anyone or a get-out-of-roots-free-card for yourself, or between a mass root or mass fear.

As a player I can see this giving me stronger customisation and greater choice, and another avenue for me to adapt myself to be the best I can be. These choices aren’t always clear-cut and they are meaningful; there’s no change-the-colour-of-my-spells style talents here. There are a few which I can see being tweaked and improved as development continues, but if the talents went live now I think we would get along with them just fine.

Taking a different perspective, as someone who ends up reading a few healer applications I can see the interview process being a lot more interesting, as people get to really explore their choice of talents and preferences rather than “EJ told me to spec this way”. For a guild raiding heroic modes, I think that with fewer options and easier talent changes we’re going to expect people to really be in command of all of their talents and know when each talent will be best used, and that’s a good thing. Depth is always preferable to breadth, in my opinion.

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4.3 New Divine Aegis Bubble?

Posted by Malevica on October - 17 - 2011

Edit: I’ve now done more detailed comparison of the new and old DA bubbles.

The PTR now has different graphic for Divine Aegis:

Divine Aegis bubble, looking just like it used to before it was changed

Look familiar?

(The video’s probably overkill, I’m just messing with screen capture and Youtube).

It looks remarkably similar to the old DA animation (I can’t be 100% sure it’s the same, but it looks like it), so this might be another placeholder or even an unintended reversion, so the usual PTR this-is-not-final warnings apply. I should note, for those paying attention, that this DA looks exactly the same whether it’s from “normal” DA procs from crits and those from PoH casts.

If this is final, then I’ll be honest and say I had hoped for something cooler to justify the removal of the graphic for an entire patch cycle. Then again, the reason given for removing the graphic was that it was too visually intensive, especially with PoH proccing bubbles left, right and centre, so maybe they’ve simplified something about it that’s not obvious at first glance to make it more acceptable again. Time to scour the interwebs looking for old videos to compare it to…

Or, as I say, this might just be an accidental reversion because someone over at Blizzard copied the old Doodad_Divine_Aegis_Soap_Bubble file into the Priest Effects folder (I’m not a game developer, but I’m sure that’s basically how things work…), in which case we may yet see another version in the coming weeks.

I still have hope that they might surprise us and change it again to be something entirely new, but at the very least it’s nice to have something other than the PW:S graphic.

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Categories: Opinion

Heroic Firelands

Posted by Malevica on October - 8 - 2011

Assuming you’ve not been living under a rock, you’ll be aware that just under three weeks ago the Firelands was hit with some pretty chunky nerfs, with 15% and 25% decreases in damage and health combined with reductions in the danger of some of the trickier mechanics (Alysrazor’s Tornadoes, for example).

My Context

How you feel about the nerfs is going to depend very strongly on your situation, so before I go and give my opinion I’ll explain where I’m coming from.

My guild had been pushing pretty hard, since forming up at the beginning of September, to work our way through the content and we were starting on Ragnaros when the announcement was made that we’d have a final week to down him “properly” before the nerfs arrived. We duly took him down on the Sunday night, and I have to tell you it was a big relief to all of us. You could feel the pressure on the raid to get it done and get it done quickly, before it wouldn’t feel like something to be proud of any more.

In the 8 raid nights we’ve had since the nerfs we’ve gone from 0/7 to 6/7 heroic bosses killed. Majordomo took a meagre 5 attempts, Baleroc took two. The rest took around a dozen pulls each to get down. Whew!

Now, and this is important, let me not take anything away from the team here. I’m not saying this isn’t an achievement to be proud of, because these fights aren’t (generally) a walkover and there have been some strong performances, some extremely quick learning, and good teamwork on show. And there are plenty of teams that haven’t progressed this much even post-nerf, we’ve leap-frogged several on our server. So I’ll say a huge congratulations to everyone involved.


My Sense of Achievement

When I’ve thought in the past about what makes a kill worthwhile for me, and therefore what makes me really value my achievements while raiding, I always put it down to the feeling of progressively learning to overcome a challenge, where that learning might be personal or collective.
For example, maybe I learned how to squeeze out a bit more healing to get the raid through a healing-intense period, or the healing team nailed our cooldown usage, or the raid’s positioning was spot on and no one got hit by the bad, or perhaps we finally beat that pesky enrage timer. Whatever the trick might have been, we started off not able to beat the boss, and ended up in triumph.

That could obviously account for being underwhelmed by heroic Baleroc who was more or less a push-over, but we spent a dozen or more attempts downing Shannox, Beth’tilac and Alysrazor and there was undoubtedly some progression involved there. So there must be something else that contributes to my sense of achievement that’s not been stimulated by the more recent boss kills.

Well, I’ve done some thinking, and I’ve come up with two prime candidates:

My Elitism

I’ll say it, I’m an elitist. I’ll also explain what I mean by that: I’m okay with the idea of content that’s graded and graded such that most people won’t see everything (myself included). People find their level and raid the content that works for them.

Myself, I want to be able to look at my raid achievements pane, or my titles, or WoWProgress and compare myself (or my guild) to others. I’ll be honest and say that I enjoy seeing which progression percentile I’m in, and how many people haven’t managed to see and do what I’ve seen and done. It makes me feel good, and I doubt I’m alone in that.

That “elitism” is a strong driver for me to put the time and effort into raiding, both inside and outside the game, even when it’s hard work. But when I look at WoWProgress and see an extremely flat field, with 10 guilds currently at 6/7 heroic and probably more to join us shortly, that ability to rank myself is diminished and with it some of my sense of accomplishment. By contrast, before the nerfs the half-dozen or so guilds raiding heroic content were pretty well spread out between 1/7 and 6/7.

We have been jumping up the rankings this last fortnight as we took down bosses so I have enjoyed a little of that feeling, but very quickly we’ve found ourselves just one of the pack again.

Which leads me on to the other factor:

My Pacing

This is the big one, I think: time.

I’m talking about the time it takes to down a new boss. It’s so quick that there’s just no real need for the poring over of logs or the researching of strategies or the discussion on guild forums. And I enjoy all that stuff!

I’m also talking about the time it takes us to acquire new gear and progress our characters. Like it or not WoW is a loot- and gear-centred game, but the speed at which we’ve taken down new bosses means we’ve had no sense of that progression. Whatever gear we started heroics with would probably have been enough, it’s just about getting the hang of the execution.
What I realise is that I actually enjoy seeing bosses get noticeably easier as we gear up, but I find that that once a boss is sufficiently easy to defeat the gear ceases to make much of a difference to the challenge, and so that point of reference is lost to me.

And I’m talking about the time we get to actually enjoy a new kill. It’s nice to get a new boss down and then enjoy basking in that feeling for a few days. Getting another new boss down an hour later has robbed me of the pleasure of savouring the first kill for more than that hour.

And finally I’m talking about the simple fact that time translates to effort, and that the more effort we put into something, the better we feel when it’s successfully completed. Simple, but true nonetheless.

My Conclusion

As I said right at the start, this is all a matter of perspective. I’m an individual, with a particular set of values and motivations. I’m also in a particular guild with a particular average skill level and particular progression.

For me in the position I’m in now, the nerfs sucked. Having worked our way through the not-especially-challenging normal-mode bosses, we were just about to deal with Ragnaros so we could start really testing our mettle against the heroic modes. What actually happened was that those promised heroic modes provided little challenge, so instead of a series of challenges we’re effectively left with just one, heroic Ragnaros. Maybe this is how Paragon feel every patch?

On the other hand, there is now a good spread of guilds between 5/7 heroic and 7/7 normal, so for those guilds the nerfs might well have been pretty sweet. And amongst the teams who were struggling with some of the normal modes, there might well be some happy faces there too as they can move beyond the two or three bosses and see some new content. I don’t know though, I’m not them.

Perhaps the Raid Finder will solve this problem. Move the “everyone should get to see the end boss, at least in some form” into the LFR mode, and you effectively have a third difficulty level to play with: Heroics for the Royalty and Aristocracy to complete or work through respectively, normals for the Gentry and Bourgeoisie to complete or work through respectively, and LFR for those without the time, skills or structure (and I’m not saying those are linked in any way) to handle the medium difficulty level. And alts. Lots of alts.

Or, and this is far more likely, it’ll just mean the problematic cases are moved to somewhere else on the spectrum, and they can moan about the state of the raiding game instead!

Also, I’ve been watching way too much Scrubs 😉

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Categories: Opinion

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.

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.

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.

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


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