Cataclysm: first thoughts on the Priest changes

Have to say I’m disappointed.

Leap of Faith (level 85): Pull a party or raid member to your location. Leap of Faith (or “Life Grip”) is intended to give priests a tool to help rescue fellow players who have pulled aggro, are being focused on in PvP, or just can’t seem to get out of the fire in time. Instant. 30-yard range. 45-second cooldown.

So Priests are back to being the gimmick healer. Have they really thought this through? Tank gets a lead on threat and then the Priests start playing ping pong with him so the boss spends the fight wandering slowly after him. Unless they make being lifegripped drop aggro, you could abuse it in so many situations.

Personally I dislike idea of this spell on so many levels, 1. I hate other people moving my character. Being deathgripped in PvP really pisses me off and being pulled around by my own side could be equally annoying. 2. In a raid environment, I choose not to play with people who can’t get out of fires. I don’t see why Priests for their end-game spell get a crutch for weak players, it’s hardly exciting nor does it bring anything to my gameplay other than a chance to exploit bosses and really annoy which ever melee who is currently topping the damage metre and spamming it in raidchat every two seconds. Not to mention if I don’t rescue the moron rogue who gets tolerated only because he’s related to the GM, I’ll be the one getting bitched at.

This can not go live, there are so many griefers playing WoW at the moment. Imagine battlegrounds, you’re tagging a node in Arathi Basin and the priest yanks you away half way through. Defending a tower in AV and some Priest just pulls you out. Thats before you even consider the cliff jumping priest who pulls you off whilst levitating. Lifegrip could kill more people than Deathgrip in the average battleground. That PuG raid annoying you? Lifegrip the tank to the caster group and watch with interest as the big angry dragon cleaves half the raid.

Inner Will (level 83): Increases movement speed by 12% and reduces the mana cost of instant-cast spells by 10%. This buff will be exclusive with Inner Fire, meaning you can’t have both up at once. Inner Fire provides a spell power and Armor buff; Inner Will should be useful on a more situational basis.

12 percent is nothing. Most melee classes run faster than that, so you will still be caught in PvP. Does it stack with run speed on boots? My guess is not. I’ve never had a problem running away from bad things in the past so my mana would have to be pretty horrific for me to lose the spell power bonus of inner fire for this. Plus in PvP, I’m not willing to lose the armour of Inner Fire for a a marginal run speed that hamstring etc will completely negate anyway.

Heal (available at level 16): While priests already have a spell called Heal, the existing version becomes obsolete at higher levels, which is something we intend to change in Cataclysm. Introduced at a low level, the “new” Heal spell will functionally work much like a down-ranked Greater Heal did in the past, adding more granularity to your direct-healing arsenal. If you need to heal someone a moderate amount and efficiency is an issue (making Flash Heal the incorrect spell for the job), then Heal is what you want to use. Heal is intended to be the priest’s go-to direct-healing spell unless they need something bigger (Greater Heal) or faster (Flash Heal). We will be following a similar philosophy with all the healing classes.

Getting Heal was a fairly obvious change, given the mana efficiency discussions. Useful but hardly exciting.

All HoTs and DoTs will benefit from Haste and Crit innately. Hasted HoTs and DoTs will not have a shorter duration, just a shorter period in between ticks (meaning they will gain extra ticks to fill in the duration as appropriate).

Makes renew more fun and will probably mean I kill things faster in PvP/grinding.

We want to make Holy a little bit more interesting to play. One new talent will push the Holy priest into an improved healing state when he or she casts Prayer of Healing, Heal, or Renew three times in a row. The empowered state varies depending on the heals cast.

Are they playing the same class? Holy is already I would argue the most interesting healer to play. We have a large and diverse toolbox and plenty of options available at any time. Add in the procs and cooldowns we already have to manage.

The idea behind the Holy “cast three in a row” talent (it’s called “Chakra”) is that we’ve always positioned Holy as a versatile healer. This talent lets you shift into different modes. If you need to be a tank healer, cast three single target heals and your single-target healing is now better. Cast three area heals, and you can be a temporarily specialized group healer. We’re going to try to play this mechanic up with a cool UI to try to get that “I’m almost in the zone” feel. We’ll let it apply to as many types of spells as we can, perhaps even Smite for those times when nobody’s taking damage.

The idea of Blizzard coming up with a “cool” UI is enough to make me run for the hills. I thought we were going to have mana problems so having to cast prayer of healing three times before I can even start being efficient seems a little crazy to me. Then there is the balance problem, if by casting three heals in a row Holy Priests can go from being on par with the best Tank healers to being on par with the best raid healers that could cause issues down the line, especially since we bring all the gimmicks. Although with dual specs why can’t disc be the tank healing spec and holy the raid healing one. It would save a lot of work on everyone’s part in the long run. It basically sounds like we are getting the Holyform they said they would never implement but without the cool golden graphic.

I rolled a priest back in Vanilla to actually be a shadowpriest but back then I could only get a raid spot if I healed. I’ve been healing ever since and that’s what annoys me the most about this bucket of garbage. I want to heal, not pull idiots away from dragons or pits of fire. I don’t need movement speed, I have reactions. I could get out of fire on a druid when treeform hamstrung you. Since everyone doesn’t have movement speed, fights will be designed around you having enough time to move without any movement enhancing ability. I feel the whole “chakra” system is limited in its design. I dislike the idea of having to ramp up to speed, especially since no other healer will have that limitation. Then what happens if you need to throw a few single target heals on yourself during a fight, possibly because the other priest (you know the one you’re beating on the healing metre) just pulled you into a fire. You lose a chunk of throughput which from what Blizzard has told us so far about mana can only be a bad thing.
Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses

Discipline

  • Healing
  • Meditation
  • Absorption


Absorption: Improves the strength of shields such as Power Word: Shield, Divine Aegis, and Power Word: Barrier.

Holy

  • Healing
  • Meditation
  • Radiance


Radiance: Your direct heals add a small heal-over-time component to the target.

Discipline is to be expected. Holy is hardly exciting either, the important words here I suspect being “small”.

No mention of Lightwell, I just hope that doesn’t mean it going to be a “lolwell” for yet another expansion. The powerword: Barrier could be fun if it manages to make it to live this time around. Although:

“The closest analogue to PW:B is the DK Anti-Magic Zone, but it has some important differences, such as a way to counter it in PvP (since it absorbs all damage, not just magical damage).”

could potentially make it useless in PvP, depending on what the counter is.

I suppose I was actually hoping for a couple of useful spells or at least spells which currently aren’t up to par (Lightwell) being  improved. Although, now I think of it… drop lightwell, lifegrip melee to lightwell… point, glare. Finally I can bring my raid albeit one every 45 seconds to the Lightwell. Yay.

The whole notes without my whining can be found here.

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