#Alt Appreciation – Priest Week

This week is dedicated to one of my favourite classes, yep, it’s finally #Priest Week.

When I first started playing WoW, we spent a lot of time PvPing in the Barrens and in Hillsbrad and despite loving my Warlock, there were two Horde Shadow Priests who inspired me a lot (probably because beating them was hard). When we came to reroll on a PvP server a few months down the line because of the new battleground queues made PvPing impossible on our server, I decided that instead of making a new Warlock, I’d go for a Shadow Priest. We were leveling as a threesome and as two hybrids (Priest and Druid) and a pure dps class, we could run dungeons at the appropriate level with no problems at all without needing to find another 2 players. It varied on who tanked and who healed, for example on Princess Theradras in Maraudon my Shadow Priest tanked whilst Mr Harpy’s feral Druid healed me but it worked great. Then we hit level 54 and joined a guild who were planning on running Molten Core real soon. Next thing I knew, I was Holy/Disc to raid and haven’t really looked back.

Throughout the original game I played a Priest, only switching to a Paladin a few months into the Burning Crusade. It didn’t take me long to realize that for me at least, this was a mistake, one which I wanted to rectify as swiftly as possible and in fact started taking my Priest to more and more alt fun runs. By the time the Sunwell came out, I was tempted to go back to playing one as my main but all our Shamans quit at once siting school, drama or wanting to re-roll themselves and whilst the final choice was mine, I went for Heroism for over Circle of Healing.

When Wrath was released, I went Priest from the start and the same with Cataclysm and MoP. I might currently be flirting with a Monk but I suspect that eventually the call of the Priest will be too strong for me to ignore.

Sprout

WoWScrnShot_091511_233530
Because everyone needs at least one Gnome Priest in their lives!

Erinys as she was originally

benediction

Erinys as she is today

benediction

At some point I would like to return to her to original state because she’ll always a Priestess of Elune to me but for the moment she’s sneaking around pretending to be a Blood Elf.

General Dornröschen

truefaith

Named for one of my favorite fairy tales, Sleeping Beauty which just seemed appropriate for a Forsaken Priest. I farmed rank 12 on her during the original game and she wears her title with pride. There was no botting, afking in corners or using hard core premades to get there, just lots of pvp some with friends but the vast majority just with Mr Harpy’s warrior.

There are few more Priestly skeletons hiding away on my account but these are my three main trouble causers.

Thoughts on being 90

Whilst levelling is a journey full of wonder and amazement, arrival at 90 is like landing at the airport to discover they’ve lost your baggage, customs want to strip search you but you’ve won the lottery to compensate. Sure there are a lot of positives but some definite negatives thrown into the mix as well.

1. Dailies, dailies, dailies as far as the eye can see. The choice is overwhelming as is the feeling that you should ignore the “fun” ones (Tillers/Anglers/Cloud Serpents) whilst concentrating on the rest in the run up to raids and the arena season starting. Given that I don’t go back to work until Thursday, we have been spamming the lot but it definitely feels like overload. On the plus side (a phrase I never thought I’d ever use in this context) most of the daily hubs involve going to one specific area and slaughtering & collecting. On top of that, compared to the Molten Front, killing vermling, playing catch with baby dragons and beating up sharks with your bare hands is a refreshing change.

2. Heroics aren’t really heroic in any shape or form. When I queued up for the first time I was really nervous remembering back to the start of Cataclysm when on some trash packs mana was an issue. I didn’t need to worry, in fact even after boss fights my interweaving of power word:solace into the mix meant I didn’t need to drink then either. I know the challenge modes are there for just that purpose but I would have liked the Heroics to be slightly tougher. It just feels a bit wrong where the Stormstout brewery for example felt harder on normal at 86 than it did at 90 on heroic (just wearing blue 450 gear in every slot apart from my 463 legs and my epic trinket from Coren).

3. PvP is awesome. My favourite all time battleground now has to be the Temple of Kotmogu. It’s fast paced, fun and a bit like arenaing but with objectives other than making sure you’re the last team standing. I definitely don’t feel squishy as Holy unless the whole opposing team piles on top of me (or I’ve been hogging a power ball too long) which is a good start to an expansion too. I plan on doing a proper post covering my choice of glyphs + talents as Holy for each of the maps once I’ve finished testing a few things.

4. Scenarios! I love all of the ones I’ve played so far (apart from Theramore). They’re quick, varied and because it’s not just standing still and healing like a proper dungeon, great fun (ignoring the lore side of it, Theramore is just a bit too much like running a dungeon).

The loot bags are annoying though, I know RNG is RNG but so far Mr Harpy has had an item from pretty much every second bag and I’ve had zero which makes gearing up a little more irritating.

5. Priesting. Why oh why can’t chakras last after death and on zoning. I know it’s not a massive issue for most things but it’s still a quality of life issue. Other than that, I’m pretty happy with Holy. Mana is 10 times better than it was at the start of Cataclysm in both pve and pvp. In fact the only other thing which annoys me is the lack of useful minor glyphs for my chosen spec. We have a choice of ten, four are shadow specific, one is disc specific, one is holy specific but requires your death and the others are just flavour.

6. Pet battles. Fear my Hopling because it will lick you to death! This turned out to be more addictive and less annoying than on the beta. I’m still working my way through pre Outlands pets but I hit 250 unique pets a while back and am route to 400 albeit slowly. I have to admit I went and tamed an Infested Bear Cub even though I said I never would. (By the way, they only seem to spawn after midnight if you’re looking, at least that’s the only time I’ve ever found any sign of them). Also whoever designed Jaguero Isle to have a separate weather system to that of southern STV can take a spinning crane kick to the face.

7. MoP transmogrification. Yes please! The cloth pvp set consisting of a pants suit had me panicking slightly but the weapons and off-hands are stunning.

8. Pandas. I’m still not 100 percent convinced, but I’ve made one even though she hasn’t made it out of the start zone yet. She’s a Priest (surprise surprise) called Snowflower after a book I fell in love with a little while ago when I found a beat up copy in a charity shop. I’m slightly saddened by the fact that my favourite beta hairstyle isn’t available at the character creation stage but am hoping it will be an option once she escapes the Isle.

9. The Storyline in general. I’m really impressed with the stories this time around. Blizzard have added some really lovely touches and some tragic moments. I was particularly taken with the fact that my evil double giggles.

It’s a great mix of tragic, comedic and thought provoking.

I think I started out looking for things to criticise, wanting to believe that WoW had nothing left to offer me, that I reached my final destination as far as the game was concerned but it seems that somehow despite my cynicism, Pandaria’s beauty and sense of wonder has managed to pull me back.

BETA: Glyph of the Heavens

The current beta build (15657) brought Priests our first cosmetic minor glyph.

Glyph of  the Heavens – Your Levitate targets will appear to be riding on a cloud for the duration of the spell.

Well would you have your eyes open if you were standing on a cloud?

The cloud is dynamic which is a nice touch, fluidly shifting in size.

 I can’t help wondering if it’s a bit big for Gnomes though. At it’s largest (as shown in the top picture) it’s about the same size as my Priest. Will I be using it when Mists goes live? Probably not, I find the movement a bit distracting and since I tend to use levitate mostly for leaping from the Lumber Mill to the Blacksmith, I’m not sure I’d want my arrival to be heralded by a large fluffy storm cloud.

BETA: Spectral Guise

I want to like this ability, I really do but I’m struggling to find anything positive at all to say about it. Regardless of whether you consider it in the light of PvP or PvE it has several obvious flaws.

White hits count towards the three hits. Thus fast hitting classes like rogues break you out far too fast.

You can’t cast anything whilst invisible nor can you interact with anything, including your lightwell.

You might as well announce your disappearing act with a fanfare of trumpets, some fireworks and a troop of cheerleaders. Subtle it isn’t. Not only is there an audible “whoosh”, you also fade to black before vanishing then there is a slight delay in which the enemy de-targets you before the “clone” appears. Which brings me to my next point.

This is my Gnome in all her awesome lv 87 glory:

This is my Spectral Guise:

Feel free to play spot the differences. I would imagine that by the time we’re one month into the expansion, everyone who isn’t a bot will recognise exactly what you’re doing and how to counter it. Also regardless of the health you’re at when you cast Spectral Guise, the clone spawns with a 100 percent which is another give away.

At the moment, any damage you (the real you, not the pale imitation) takes breaks the illusion. So you need to be careful about when you use it. Any dots on you before hand and it’s a no no even if said dots are absorbed by your shield. If you get caught by any AoE effects whilst trying to sneak off, same deal.

As Spectral Guise does break on damage to you and doesn’t clear snares, my biggest headache whilst duelling was the preparation I needed to get the most out of it.

cc -> dispel -> racial (if the snares weren’t magic) -> Spectral Guise

As the most I gained was 30 yards and since everyone else has at least one way of getting back to you, it barely bought me any time at all. I would have been arguably better just using fear and then spam healing myself.

In mass PvP, I can imagine myself using it pro-actively, for example sneaking into an enemy group using it and then fearing to break them up. Other than that, the best use I can think of is using it to cancel spells enemy casters/bosses are using on you.

So what about PvE, if I’m in a dungeon with a bad tank, I already have fade (which I can talent to remove snares) as well as either void tendrils or glyphable fear.

One other possible use (besides using it to cancel one spell cast on you every 30 seconds), would be on encounters like the new Huntsman in the Scarlet Monastery. The kind of fights where you get an arrow over your head and a pack of animals which can’t be taunted set on you for a set duration. If the arrow copies to your “clone” that is. I still need to test this as when I tried the Scarlet Monastery earlier, the boss insisted on targeting my party member rather than me. Of course if Mists brings us another Faction Champions type encounter, then yes, this spell will have a niche but until then, it’s rather lacklustre.

As an lv 87 Priest who has quested through both new zones as well as run the new dungeon as Holy, I can’t think of a single occasion where I “needed” Spectral Guise or even one where it would have been my go to solution. Given that it’s our only new non-talented ability this expansion, I feel that’s rather sad.

I would like to see a couple of quick fixes implemented to make it more desirable.

  1. Make it require only yellow hits to break or make it last for a percentage of your health pool.
  2.  Have it work a bit like vanish in that any damage the real you incurs whilst it’s active doesn’t break the effect. That way AoE and dots wouldn’t be so much of an issue. Either that or fix it to work with absorbs so that any absorbed damage doesn’t make you reappear.
  3. I’d also like it to copy my character, exact same health/mana and health percentage please.
Edit: On top of all this, Darkener left a great comment about his/her idea for a Spectral Guise glyph.
Glyph of Spectral Guise:Your Spectral Guise spell can be cast while stunned, immobilized, polymorphed, feared, charmed, disoriented, Sapped or mind controlled (under the effect of any CC).”

I have to say I love this idea. Of course it would rely on Blizzard fixing Spectral Guise so that the “sneaky” you doesn’t take damage whilst invisible but it would make a big difference in PvP. Since most of the glyphs these days are trade offs, perhaps a small increase to the cooldown would be required but I could live with that if I got a decent “Save me!” spell out of it.

Finally I have one last issue with it. As it’s not true stealth, mini-pets stick by your side and give the game away. In an expansion based around mini-pet battles, this is bad. I want to have my new companions out in PvP.

BETA: Thoughts on PvPing as a Healing Priest in MoP.

Disclaimers and stuff: First Beta build and everything is likely to change between now and live. Blizzard have admitted that the Priest Class still is a work in progress and things are missing/being switched around.

Crowd Control

Fear is back as baseline and Holy still has access to Chastise (the disorient).

Our other cc options can be found on Tier 1 of the new talent trees and they are:

  • Dominate Mind. 30 second cooldown. (appears to replace our current Mind Control) and is usable on all but mechanical targets.
  • Pysfiend. 45 second cooldown. Summons a Pysfiend that stands in place. The Pysfiend casts a Psychic Scream on a nearby enemy within 30 yards every 1.5 seconds, preferring targets which attack the Priest. Psychic Scream causes enemies to flee for 30 seconds, damage caused may interrupt the effect. (Given that Fear is back as a baseline, this may change. Due to diminishing returns, it’s unlikely to be my preferred choice in PvP).
  • Void Tendrils. 30 second cooldown. Summons shadowy tendrils out of the ground, rooting all targets within 8 yards for 20 seconds. Killing the tendril will cancel the effect. (Wonder if the Freya root macro could be re-used  for tendril killing).

Damage Prevention

First of all, it looks like that staple of Disc PvP, Focused Will is gone for good. Disc does however hang on to both Pain Suppression and Power Word: Barrier.

Other options available to us will include:

Glyph of Inner Sanctum: Spell damage taken is reduced by 6% while within Inner Fire, and the movement speed bonus of your Inner Will is increased by 6%.

This is basically our current talent in the Disc tree swapped to a glyph.

Talent: Phantasm (tier 2) – Any time you Fade you remove all movement impairing effects from yourself and your movement speed will be unimpaired for 3 seconds. In addition to this, you are no longer targettable by ranged attacks for its duration.

This combines a reworking of the current PvP set bonus with an old shadow talent of the same name with some new goodies.

If the “duration” means Fade and it keeps the same cooldown/duration it currently has, that could be 10 seconds out of every 30 that ranged spells just can’t hit you. Ever the optimist, but I’m not sure I see this going live as is.

At the moment, the other choices on tier 2 are purely movement speed related and since a boost to movement speed is no use unless you first clear snares, I’m erring towards this as my PvP pick.

Spectral Guise looks as if it’s making a come back as our lv 87 ability.

Instant cast, 30 second cooldown. Your shadow blurs into the darkness, leaving behind your true form. As a shadow you are invisible but remain in combat. Lasts six seconds or until your true form is hit by 3 direct attacks.

I’m currently  undecided on this one. If those “3 direct” hits include white damage, I’d say this is a fairly useless party trick. If not then it has possibilities. I’d like it to work like this,

/cast Spectral Guise. Then working on the same sort of principle as the Highborne Soul Mirror,  my shadowy self splits off  from my “real” body. Whoever is currently using me as a punching bag, keeps hitting the “fake” me whilst the real me gets to wander off, re-appearing a few yards away.

Dispels.

Instead of having an offensive and defensive dispel and a remove disease, we now have one defensive dispel which removes both magic and disease effects from a target and an offensive dispel. (This was my preferred solution when I discussed dispels a few weeks back although I’m still not convinced that adding a cooldown to dispels makes their use  any more intelligent than when we could spam them willy-nilly.).

Purify (new spell) – 8 second cooldown, removes all magic effects and diseases  from one friendly target. Is only available to Holy and Disc.

Glyph of Purify: heals your target X% upon successful removal of debuffs.

Dispel Magic – now has an 8 second cooldown and removes one buff from an enemy.

Glyph of Dispel Magic: Your Dispel Magic spell also damages your target for 0 Holy damage when you successfully dispel a magical effect.

Glyph of Leap of Faith: Your Leap of Faith spell now also clears all movement impairing effects from your target.

Mass Dispel is still with us and since it appears to be an option for Symbiosis, it seems as if it’s going to stay that way.

Offensive Magic.

According to the spell lists, Holy and Disc are losing access to most of the Shadow magic abilities (mindblast and mindspike). I have to admit, I’m  not particularly happy about this as I’ve always preferred using my shadow school when fighting melee, that way if I do get kicked, I’m not locked out of my heals.

We still have Shadow word: Death to annoy Mages though.

Glyph of Holy Fire: Your Holy Fire spell is now instant. Having another instant is always good in PvP and this might combine nicely with Atonement.

Atonement is also meant to be making an return as a glyph but hasn’t put in an appearance yet.

Cooldowns.

Disc has Pain Suppression, Power Word: Barrier and Hymn of Hope (even if we don’t know how that’s going to work just yet, however given that according to the data-miners, Symbiosis may give Disc Priests Tranquillity, I’d put money on the fact that it’s not going to be a heal).

Holy has Divine Hymn (on a 3 minute cooldown), Lightwell (which now has 15 charges as baseline) and Guardian Spirit (which hasn’t changed).

Talents offer us a few more possibilities.

Desperate Prayer is still available as a talent but it’s currently a choice between that, Voidshift and the new version of Angelic Bulwark.

Voidshift has now shifted itself to tier 4 of the talent tree. “You swap health percentage with the current friendly target. After this effect ends, whoever has the lowest health is automatically healed for 25 percent of their total health”. This has a 3 minute cooldown.

Tier 6 of the talent tree offers Vow of Unity. “Can not be cast on Tank specialized players”. 15 second duration, 2 minute cooldown, all healing on both targets is shared, and a portion will travel in both directions as well. The small print means this is rather lacklustre in PvE. I’d like to play around with it and binding heal as Holy. However since quite a few battlegrounds revolve around flags and flag carriers are often tank specced, I’m not as excited as I was before they added the caveat.

Other Useful Things.

Inner Focus is still Disc only and Strength of Soul (that crucial PvP talent) now appears to be a glyph.

It seems like Reflective Shield is also becoming a glyph. This makes me happy because I’ve beaten lots of people in 1 v 1s that I would otherwise have lost without it.

Other Priestly Beta Links: (will add to this as I find them)


I’m sure there is loads of things I’m missing but on the whole, so far I’m excited about PvP in Mists.

Transmogrification Tuesday – Green grow the rushes oh!

This is my Undead Priest, Dornröschen. One of her most prized possessions is her Arathi basin tabard so I thought I’d base her outfit around it. The shoulders are Priest only and the helm is Horde only unless you are a Warlock so it’s a fairly specific ensemble but then since the Alliance don’t get a green tabard I suppose it doesn’t matter. I know the shades of green aren’t identical but I prefer the detail on this robe as opposed to the one which matches the shoulders. The fanged face on the tabard is almost mirrored by one on the skirt.

For the hands, wrists and feet any dark coloured plain gloves and boots will do. I went with the Staff of Hale Magefire because it’s the staff that all my Priests started out with and as such has lots of memories. The baleful flames on it go with the yellowy green hints on the shoulders, tabard and robe too.

Updated Holy and Disc spells by Spec: MoP

Class abilities are shared by all three specs. The other two columns are spec dependent.

Information comes from here.

This is the updated version which includes most of the missing abilities from the previous one. Spells with * by their names are new additions.

Level Class Holy Disc
1 Smite
3 Shadow Word:Pain
5 Power Word: Shield
7 Flash Heal
9 Inner Fire
10 Chastise Penance
18 Resurrection  Holy Fire Holy Fire
22 Power Word: Fortitude
26 Dispel Magic Renew
28 Heal Spirit Shell*
30 Spirit of Redemption (passive)
32 Shadow Word: Death Holy Concentration (passive) Rapture (passive)
34 Levitate Greater Heal Greater Heal
36 Lightwell Inner Focus
38 Mind Control
42 Mind Vision
44 Evangelism (passive)
45 Grace (passive)
46 Prayer of Healing Holy Nova
48 Binding Heal
50 Mysticism (passive) Circle of Healing
54 Fear Ward
56 Chakra
58 Pain Suppression
64 Shadowfiend
66 Hymn of Hope
68 Prayer of Mending Prayer of Mending
70 Guardian Spirit Power Word: Barrier
72 Mass Dispel
74 Revelations (passive)
76 Mind Sear
78 Divine Hymn Train of Thought (passive)
80 Inner Will Mastery Mastery
84 Leap of Faith
87 Spectral Guise*

Mind Spike and Mind Blast have both turned up in the spell lists but as Shadow only. Not particularly happy about the PvP implications of that.

Going to be interesting to see how Holy Nova turns out now that it’s Discipline only and is Disc’s version of Prayer of Healing.

As far as I can tell, the only spells still missing are cure disease and shadow protection. However if we’re still going to get some form of disease removal I can see it being baked into the magic one, especially if they’re going to have cooldowns.

Amazed that Mass Dispel is still on the list. Really thought with the prospective changes to dispel mechanics it would have been the first thing out of the door. Glad that it’s staying around though, can’t have paladins and mages thinking they are safe in their pesky bubbles/ice-cubes.

The level 87 spell sounds interesting but possibly from a more PvP perspective than a raiding one, although I’m sure there will be uses for it in both spheres of the game.

Spectral Guise: Your Shadow blurs into the darkness, leaving your true form behind. As a shadow you are invisible, but remain in combat. Lasts 6 seconds or until until your true form is hit by 3 direct attacks. 30 second cool down.

Hopefully you’re a moving shadow, so sneaking off whilst someone is hitting you will be an option. Would be handy for getting a brief respite from bad tanking in 5 mans / LFR. If it does allow movement, Nightelf Priests might be able to have fun with it and Shadowmeld. If it allows you to carry on as normal whilst a shadow, i.e. healing away for those 6 seconds/3 hits, I like the concept a lot.

Spirit Shell, the new Disc ability sounds interesting too.

Creates an absorption shield on the target for 3864 damage lasting 8 sec. If the shield is untouched and expires, the target is healed for 80% of the amount.

Although it comes with a 3 second cast time.

I think we have to remember though, that in the case of quite a few spells, Holy Nova springs to mind, that the tooltips are odds on guaranteed to change.

 

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