Disclaimer: The Beta is the Beta and it’s likely that all things will change at some point between now and going live. However speculation is fun even if it’s only to see how wrong I am when Cataclysm finally ships.
Once upon a time raids had to walk barefoot from Ironforge through the snow all the way to Blackrock Mountain, trudging through blizzards and lava until their feet bled. In those days, Holy Nova was the Holy Priest 31 point talent and very few people took it. In my guild for example, only one of the five priests we had, had holy nova and I admit we used to tease him for it. In return he desperately used to hunt out situations in which it would be useful. Other than Vael and the Benediction quest, I don’t remember him finding many but that’s another story.
As time passed and Holy Nova moved from being the 31 pointer to 11 points into Holy, I grew to love it myself. By the time it was baseline, I was a committed nova convert. Now I use it all the time, both in PvP and PvE. Looking for rogues whilst defending a node in AB, holy nova. Defending Balinda versus 30 Horde in AV, holy nova, you’ll live marginally longer and briefly top the damage metre. Want a pretty golden confetti look for a screenshot, holy nova. Then there are it’s more practical PvE applications, on hardmode Anub’arak for example I used to throw the odd downranked holy nova in there to help keep our healing group up. Aoeing packs of trash down, hello holy nova. It might be a niche spell, but it’s a fun spell.
Now we come to the Cataclysm beta and I couldn’t help but notice a few things seem to be changing for Holy Nova. Firstly, the tooltip now says:
Causes an explosion of holy light around the caster, causing 207.21 to 240.81 Holy damage to all enemy targets within 10 yards and healing all party and raid members within 10 yards for 1305.33 to 1517. These effects cause no threat.
Now, the range is limiting yes, but there are times when you have to stack which could make holy nova really powerful if the heal component isn’t capped at a number of players. For example on live as Disc, my Priest heals for 1733 on average with crits of 2648. As holy that number would of course be higher. Plus this change gives Disc another AoE healing tool and it fits in with the other similar 10 yard tools that other healers are getting (Healing rain and Healing hands).
Then there seem to be a few Holy talents effecting it. Up first is Improved Holy Nova, a two point talent which reduces the global cooldown of holy nova by .25/.5 seconds and increases it’s crit by 25%/50%. So if you spent those two points, that would give you a 1 second global cooldown, 50 percent crit holy nova, add in the crit on your gear and that’s perhaps a 75 percent crit rate on a spell which could potentially hit 25 targets or perhaps more likely everyone in your ten man.
As for mana cost, well holy nova currently costs 20 percent of our base mana, however in the Beta it’s been reduced to 15 percent at the moment. For the sake of comparison, circle of healing costs 21 percent on both the Beta and Live. Coh might be a smart heal but it’s got a 10 second cooldown and is limited to 6 people.
Then there is surge of light which has been revamped slightly.
Your spell criticals have a 50 percent chance to cause your next smite or holy nova to be instant cast, cost no mana but be incapable of a critical hit.
I admit when I first read this, I thought that Blizzard had completely lost the plot but given that Flash Heal is meant to be our expensive emergency spell, it really was unlikely that Surge of Light would remain the way it is. The new version is slowly growing on me. So given that you could have a 75 percent crit rate and holy nova should be hitting at least four or five people, it’s likely for each mana costing holy nova you would get one free. Or you could use it to proc free smites to power up your Evangelism depending on the circumstances.
Then when you factor in the talents which reduce the cost of instants (Mental Agility) and the fact that at 85 Evangelism (which also reduces the cost of Holy Nova with each smite you cast) and Archangel would be reachable and it looks like Holy Nova could be CoH mark 2. Cheap and spamable. I also like the possible synergy of Inner Will with Holy Nova. At first I was a bit unimpressed with our lv 83 spell but the more I think about it, the more I can see it’s possible potential.
A burst of Holy energy fills the caster, reducing the mana cost of instant cast spells by 15% and increasing your movement speed by 10%.
Bouncing around at high speed (remember Inner Will is meant to stack with our boot enchants) throwing confetti at people could be fun. How long that will last without nerfs is debatable but every dark cloud has silver lining. As long as healing doesn’t return to this
I think I can cope with Cataclysm (yay for positive thinking). Although I admit it’s a bit sad that so far the bit that’s excited me the most about being a Holy Priest in the expansion is Holy Nova. Unfortunately you need to click on the image to see it in all it’s glory. It’s taken somewhat out of context from a rather weird cartoon called Superjail.