A Holy Priest’s Thoughts on the Alpha Information Overload

Having given myself time to take in and digest the Blizzard released and the data mined Holy Priest changes, I have to admit I’m feeling pretty positive about Holy Priests going forward into Draenor. Yes, everything is subject to change but there are some definitely well overdue positive notes in amongst the lists of information released so far.

Changes to Chakra

I think this change is long outstanding but if I’m being honest, I’d argue that it doesn’t go far enough. There is still a penalty for being in the “wrong” chakra, albeit a much reduced one. The addition of the new “perk” will help, after all that’s why I hate switching from my PvP gear to PvE because I miss the reduced cooldown on chakras but if Blizzard want us to be constantly and actively switching depending on the fight, then they need to make that as hassle free as possible. In my ideal world, chakras would lose both the glittery “I’m a Holy Priest, come spank me with your over sized sword” look and ditch the healing increases to single target/aoe at the same time. On that topic, I’d sell someone’s soul for the ability to glyph away from disco lights around my feet, if the Boomkins can do it… why can’t we. What about red, yellow or blue wings depending on your chakra or halos? Something delicate and subtle not smack you in the face and ruin your screenshots brash.

  • Chakra: Serenity now increases healing of single-target spells by 10% (down from 25%).
  • Holy Word: Serenity now heals for 40% more than before.
  • Chakra: Sanctuary now increases healing of area-of-effect spells by 10% (down from 25%).
  • Holy Word: Sanctuary now heals for 60% more than before.
  • Rapid Renewal no longer reduces the global cooldown of Renew.

Quality of Life Changes

  • Prayer of Mending from multiple Priests can now be on the same target, and can be on multiple targets from the same Priest.
  • Angelic Feather, if cast on players, will always prefer the casting priest over others, then pick the player closest to the targeted location. If there are no players where it is targeted, it will still create a feather that can be picked up, as before. Additionally, when collecting multiple feathers, the duration will be extended, instead of replaced.

These two make me oh so happy. I can’t believe it’s taken so long for the former to be added to the game but will make a massive change to any raid with multiple priests.

Changes to capping

  • Halo and Divine Star now follow standard AoE capping rules.

The thought of seeing Divine Star no longer hitting all 40 people awaiting the gates of AV opening makes me slightly sad but I know it’s a needed change.

No Longer Instant Cast

  • Prayer of Mending
  • The level 90 talents, Cascade, Divine Star and Halo.

I can’t say I’m particularly concerned about these particular spells gaining cast times. The first Prayer of Mending tends to go out before combat begins anyway and fitting subsequent ones into a routine shouldn’t prove hard.

Removed Altogether Spells

  • Divine Fury has been removed. (Made obsolete by the removal of hit)
  • Heal although just to confuse things Greater Heal is now going to be known as Heal.
  • Holy Nova (Becoming Disc only)
  • Hymn of Hope – I think we should throw a party for the removal of this one. If Blizzard wanted us standing still whilst we channeled to regain mana, they should have left the five second rule alone.
  • Shadow word Death – becoming available only for Shadow Priests. There was a time when I would have been heartbroken from a PvP perspective but they’ve changed this spell around so much anyway…. plus we might be getting a “glyph” to do much the same thing.
  • Void Shift – I’m a bit surprised at this one only last one expansion but then we already have Guardian Spirit as an “eek” cooldown.
  • Inner Fire – Out of all of these spells, this is the one I’m saddest to see bite the dust. I suspect I know why it’s going but still I almost hope it’s baked into the class. I know there is something fundamentally wrong about cloth wearers having more armour than monks/druids in leather but priests don’t have the same level of mobility and with the cutting back on instant casts it’s all a trade off.
  • Inner Will – Can’t say I used this much once the glow from the first few weeks of Cataclysm receded. 
  • Pys-fiend – This talent is being replaced by Fear which will no longer be baseline. There were some excellent uses for this, namely placing to fear people into the Alterac Valley boss room when they weren’t quite ready but then Spectral Guise and Fear works just as well. Everyone is going to lose some CC and out of that particular tier of talents, this would be my choice to go as it almost mirrors a spell we already have, especially compared to mind control and void tendrils. 

 

New Additions

Glyphs – These are the ones which right now claim to be available for Holy Priests. Again the labeling may change as the testing progresses.

I can’t say I’m squealing with anticipation for any of these but then my love affair with glyphs died ages ago. I keep forgetting to switch them and then bemoaning the fact that I don’t have x or y for a specific activity. For PvP, I do rather like the idea of Shadow Magic assuming it A. makes it to the live game and B. is available for healers.  Redeemer I will be refusing to learn on principle because glyphs to improve my performance once dead offend me by existing.

Level 100 Talents

The first thing I love about the 90 talents is that they’re different depending on your spec. These are the Holy versions.

wordsofmending
clarityofpurpose

savinggrace

I particularly find the idea of the last one interesting, given that it appears to be a trade off. Sure, you’ve got an instant “eek” spell but there are consequences for spamming it. Perhaps rather than reducing the number of instant cast spells, that’s how they should all work, cast too much and suffer for it.

Perks

The datamined lists from both WoWhead and MMO Champion for Holy Perks appear the same. Therefore I can only imagine that Penance is a place holder for Holy. These spells which we’re randomly going to gain on the road to 100 are purely there to boost our existing spells. Out of all these my favourite has to be Enhanced Chakras which personally I feel should be baseline anyway but given that it’s not, I’m glad the current 4 piece PvP bonus is staying on in a renamed fashion. The one aspect of these perks I really don’t like and I know it’s temporary is that we’ll gain them in a random fashion en route to 100.

 

PvP Thoughts

Happy Moments.

  • All players now have a 100% chance to hit, 0% chance to be dodged, 3% chance to be parried, and 0% chance to glance, when fighting creatures up to 3 levels higher (bosses included).

We  might be able to glyph to break certain types of CC.

Concerns

Holy will no longer have any way of stopping multiple enemies from capping flags as Holy Nova won’t be available to the spec and our level 90 talents won’t do damage. Yes, we’ll have fear if we talent for it but that’s got too much of a cooldown to much use.

  • CascadeDivine Star, and Halo no longer heal allies but are instant cast for Shadow Priests, or damage enemies for Discipline or Holy Priests.

General Thoughts

Couple this lot with the changes to Healing in general and yes it’s going to be an interesting road ahead but I don’t see anything here which has me going “What are they thinking?” I know a lot of people are still scarred by those first months of Cataclysm but by the same token, the amount of healing certain abilities and spells were spitting out was ridiculous. Not to mention, even playing as  a Healer, the amount of sheer health certain classes could put whilst running around in circles is frustrating when you’re trying to kill them.

After all, it should be hard to argue with statements like

 We want players to use multi-target heals, but they should only be better than their single-target equivalents when they heal more than two players without any overhealing. This way, players will face an interesting choice between whether to use a single-target heal or a multi-target heal based on the situation.

and

However, we still want healers to think about their mana when deciding which heal to cast, and so the mana costs and throughputs of many spells are being altered to give players a choice between spells with lower throughput and lower cost versus spells with higher throughput and higher costs. 

Whether they’ll manage to balance this across all five healer classes still remains to be seen but mostly I’m pretty positive at this point. Sure it’s impossible to know until we actually start testing but we’ve always survived before.

All information pulled from MMO-Champion, Blizzard and WoWhead.

And the Wheel keeps turning: PvP and Chakras

Nothing seems to divide Holy Priests like Chakras. I know people who have quit their Priests all together over them, Priests who have gone Disc or Shadow because of them as well as plenty of Priests who have stuck with Holy but tend to pick their Chakra and stick with it regardless of their circumstances. My focus today is PvP but a lot of what applies here can also be used whilst dungeoning and raiding.

First of all, know your “enemy”!

chakra01

and

chakra02

Now I deliberately didn’t include the third Chakra and the reason for that is simple. Chastise is our default ability if we aren’t in a Chakra at all. So lets say I’m in Serenity and I have been for a while, all I need to do to throw a disorient on that pesky Holy Paladin over there is leave Chakra state, cast Chastise and then re-enter Serenity immediately incurring no real penalty (ok Chastise hits for less but…..).

chastise01

/cancelaura Chakra: Serenity
/cancelaura Chakra: Sanctuary
/cast [target=mouseover, harm, nodead] Holy Word: Chastise; Holy Word: Chastise

You do need to hit the macro twice to get the disorient but it leaves whichever of the two Chakra states you’re in and then will stun either your mouse over target if you have one or your actual target if you don’t. I’d definitely recommend using a macro because in hectic pvp combat the last thing you want to be doing is trying to right click off the right buff whilst the person you want to disorient is trying to smash your face in with an axe.

So with the basics covered, what I do use and why? Well my general rule of thumb sees Serenity as my go to Chakra for most things pvp related. I’m a great fan of casting on the move (you can tell I was a Resto Druid in a former life can’t you) and given that in most pvp, standing still just makes you an easier target, you can’t beat instant cast abilities. Being able to dance through and behind your enemies throwing out heals can make a huge difference on your time to live and that of your team-mates.

Also if you’re left alone, Serenity is definitely where it’s at. That instant heal can and will save your life over and over again.

However, especially in the two 40 mans, Sanctuary has it’s place:

Isle of Conquest

  • On entering the boss room to take down the opposing boss I switch because with his leap, every little bit of aoe healing counts. 
  • If we’re winning by attrition and camping the graveyard, i.e. everyone is grouped up in one place with lots of people taking damage, I switch.

Alterac Valley

  • End bosses are an obvious choice for Sanctuary, especially if you’re forced into pulling with towers up.
  • Any huge face offs on the road, i.e. by Iceblood graveyard or between Stonehearth and Stormpike, using Sanctuary is a potential option. It depends whether you’re just championing one person, i.e. a warrior/deathknight or trying to keep the masses alive.

As for Arenas, given that I only ever play 2 v 2, I tend to switch between Serenity, no Chakra at all for the disorient and then using Chakra: Chastise if I need to nuke.

Basically before you make a decision on which Chakra to use, consider the following:

  1. Are you sticking with the vast majority of the team or are you off either solo or with a handful of others. Then consider Sanctuary for the former and Serenity for the latter.
  2. How many opponents are there? Lets say for example that you and a rogue are attacking the Farm in Arathi Basin. There is just one defender but you know that this team have been fairly good at communicating thus far. Do you stick in your healing Chakra or do you switch to Chastise for the extra bit of oomph? After all, the faster they die, the quicker you can tag.
  3. Is anyone focusing you? Serenity all the way then.

TL,DR

  • Macro cancelling Chakra and disorient early and often. The more CC you can provide, the less healing you need to do. Consider things like Chastise – > Mindcontrol for defending the Lumber Mill in Arathi Basin or in 2 v 2s. Not only is it annoying, it’s also effective, especially if you follow it up by parking the person next to you and then fearing them. 
  • Serenity normally beats Sanctuary unless the opposing team is kindly focusing on aoeing down your team at roughly the same rate, you aren’t taking huge amounts of damage yourself and you don’t like anyone else in the team enough to focus them with lots of single target heals.
  • Chakra: Chastise has it’s place. I use it in scenarios, 5 man groups in which people don’t stand in bad and the tank actually uses cooldowns and for nuking demolishers in Strand of the Ancients. It can also be handy in one v ones against certain classes (i.e the ones which don’t currently hit very hard themselves) as long as you’re ready to swap back to defensive mode Serenity the second they get a mate. The other thing to consider is how many healers are on your team. If I end up in a healer heavy side and no one has the gear/spec set up, I’ll use Chastise for dps, especially to help kill flag carriers whilst the others heal. My Dps isn’t awesome but I’ve never come bottom yet although in random battlegrounds that’s perhaps not surprising.

Above all, don’t be afraid to play around with them. Also I have it on good authority that chastise the disorient is cheating (rich coming from a Paladin :p) so use it often!

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