Monday, October 1, 2007

2.3 Changes for Priests

There was news last week on the Blizzard boards about changes coming in the 2.3 patch. Based on the amount of announced changes, I'd expect the patch to be soon. Especially since the 2.2 patch took long based on the technical issues around voice chat.

Let's take a look at the priest announced changes one by one.

Pain Suppression is getting changed a bit to have more utility beyond personal use. You'll be able to cast it on a friendly target and it will do a couple of things. First it's going to reduce the target's threat by 5%. and next it's going to reduce the damage that person takes by 40%. The cooldown is also going to be reduced to 2 minutes. The intent is to give it more utility while still making it viable for multiple targets. When you're trying to protect an AoEing mage in a raid, this could become a very useful tool.
I don't care how useful a tool it becomes. I think Pain Suppression is too far in the discipline tree for ANYONE to have taken it. Basically there are two general specs for priest - Shadow and Healing. The primary trees for those two builds almost necessarily have to be the shadow and holy trees. The rest of the points (if there are any) are generally spent in the discipline tree. Because it's great for buffing and for mana management. But I don't see it as a viable tree all on its own. And to top it off its the 41-point discipline talent.
Meditation is also going to get a bit of a bump up and it will increase to 10/20/30% mana regen as well.
Yay for mana regen!
On the survivability end, we're going to be having Power Word: Shield gain additional benefit from spell damage and healing bonuses. Base absorb values for ranks 10, 11 and 12 have been reduced though to go with that as a balancing factor for it. Unfortunately I don't have any concrete information on what the values will end up being right now.
The jury is still out. PW:S generally falls into one of two categories for me: preparation for battle or panic button. That said, the changes to PW:S don't make it bad for either application. But when I think about changes needed for priests, I just don't zero in on PW:S
Prayer of Healing, Circle of Healing and Holy Nova (healing effect) will gain additional benefit from damage and healing bonuses.
Circle of Healing is having a change to the base amount of healing though, and will be reduced but it will have the increase in the bonus it receives from bonus healing effects. So if you have more than 1338 healing, you'll see it heal for more. Less than that, you will see a reduction. Please keep in mind that these numbers could change on further testing but this is where we are as of right now for the patch.
Of these three, my priest is specced into exactly ONE of the abilities. And PoH is not my favorite spell. However with the +healing I have, I won't complain. Again, not the first place I'd look to make necessary priest changes.
Fear Ward will be available to all priests at level 20, but there are some changes in addition. Current plans are to reduce duration to 3 minutes, and increase the cooldown to 3 minutes.
To give the dwarves and draenei something else to even it out, they'll see a new ability called Chastise (also given at level 20) which will cause holy damage and incapacitate the target for 2 seconds.
This I actually disagree with. I like our ability to have race-specific class abilities. And while I sometimes wish I'd had the foresight to roll a dwarf, I'm happy with my human. I would agree that the Horde missed out. I wouldn't even mind adding Fear Ward to a few of the Horde race priests. It is too useful in dungeons & raids to ignore one faction. However, really, what's next, shall we make Desperate Prayer a universal priest ability too?
We also changed the mana cost for Power Word: Fortitude, Divine Spirit, Prayer of Fortitude and Prayer of Spirit . The developers took a look at it and thought that the mana costs were just too high for what they should be. Hopefully this will cut down on all the water everyone has been gulping down at raids. ;)
I won't disagree with this change. But it's only water :-)

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