Amber’s Thoughtful Overview Of Proposed Priest Changes

I know I said I didn’t care about Cata changes that much but this is a convenient post.  I still plan on doing Twilight Sparkly Party–it got derailed by a work project yesterday, and I just don’t have the heart for it today.

New Priest Spells 

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 (WoW: expanding your vocabulary) 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. 


Mind Spike (level 81): Deals Shadowfrost damage and puts a debuff on the target that improves subsequent Mind Spike damage. The intent of Mind Spike is to fill a niche missing in Shadow DPS, though it may be occasionally useful for healers as well. Mind Spike provides a quick nuke to use in situations where the priest doesn’t have time to set up the normal rotation, such as when adds are dying too fast or you have to swap targets a lot. Spamming Mind Spike will do about as much damage as casting Mind Flay on a target afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain. The idea behind the debuff is that when you cast Mind Spike, we expect you to cast a lot of them; we don’t intend you to fit it into an already full Shadow rotation. It also provides Shadow with a spell to cast when locked out of the Shadow school. (School lockouts will no longer affect both schools for multi-school spells.) 1.5-second cast. 30-yard range. No cooldown. 

This one actually sounds pretty cool.  I used to just flail and Mind Flay stuff in that sort of situation.

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. 

Flail and cast bubble/renew time?

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 (IF HE HAS AGGRO I DON’T WANT HIM NEAR ME!), 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. 

Ways to abuse “Life Grip”:
Yank the DPS INTO the fire.
Yank the overpulling tank back to you.  Bonus points if he is tanking something that cleaves and this drags said mob through other people resulting in much death.
Yank some easily movement impaired class  to you for no reason other than to fuck up their DPS.
Yank the melee to you after they blow their cooldowns.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics 

In addition to introducing new spells, we’re planning to make changes to some of the other abilities and mechanics you’re familiar with. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we intend for each spec.

  • 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). 
    I will have some…really awesome…renew…crits?
  • We want to bring back Shadow Word: Death as an “execute” — something you do when the target is at 25% health. 
    But is it still something I kill myself with when I’m not paying attention?
  • While we want to keep the priest’s role as a well-rounded healer, we also want to make sure the class is a viable tank healer, which is something priests moved away from a little in Wrath of the Lich King. Greater Heal will probably be the tank-healing spell of choice, though we’ve also discussed giving Discipline a second shield so that they have a small shield to cast on lots of different targets, and a big, more expensive shield to cast on a tank or anyone else taking a ton of damage. 
    I must have missed the memo where I was supposed to drift away from being a viable tank healer.  …wait, what?  Greater Heal?  YOU WANT ME TO USE GREATER HEAL?  WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN.  My brain, it is–ooh, moar bubbles?
  • Divine Spirit and Prayer of Spirit will be removed from the game. As Spirit will be the primary mana-regeneration stat, we don’t want it to vary as much between solo, small group, and raid play. Blessing of Kings and Mark of the Wild will not boost Spirit either.
    I’m curious to see if they replace it with anything.  It would feel weird to just be missing a buff.
  • Mana will be a bigger consideration for all healers. We aren’t trying to make healing more painful; we’re trying to make it more fun. When the cost of a spell isn’t an issue, then casting the right spell for the job is less of an issue because you might as well just use your most powerful spell all of the time. We are, however, getting rid of the five-second rule, because we don’t want to encourage standing around doing nothing. We’re also going to cut back on the benefits of buffs such as Replenishment so priests (and all healers) don’t feel as penalized when those buffs aren’t available.
    Ironically I hate huntering without replen even more than I hate healing without replen.  Not feeling as crippled without it will be nice, but I’m mildly concerned about how they’ll balance this. 
    Wait, I’m making acutal thoughtful commentary.  FUCK.  NOT ALLOWED.

New Talents and Talent Changes

  • We want to improve Discipline’s single-target healing capacity. One key is to make sure shielding isn’t always a more attractive option than healing. 
    Well, you know, there’s that whole “weakened soul” thing?  Strangely enough I do HEAL between bubbles already.  So that I can get soap bubbles up.  I am…confused by this statement, though if you want to give me more thoroughput go right on ahead.
  • We want to improve Holy for PvP healing. One way to do this is to make sure that Heal’s throughput is similar between both specs. 
    I saw “PvP” and “holy” didn’t even read this part.
  • We want to improve Shadow for short fights and reduce its susceptibility to school lockouts. 
    Yes please, reduce our short fight fail.  *remembers above*  By giving us one button to mindlessly spam.
  • Discipline will finally be getting Power Word: Barrier as a talented ability. Think of it like a group Power Word: Shield. 
  • 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. 
    blah blah Holy blah
  • Since the Shadow tree has a lot of passive damage-boosting abilities — something we’re trying to avoid in Cataclysm — we will need to replace several of the tree’s talents. One idea is to play off of the new Shadow Orbs mechanic (see Mastery section below), possibly allowing you to consume an orb to increase damage from Mind Blast or reduce Mind Spike’s cast time. 
    Insert all sorts of balls jokes here. 
  • Misery will no longer affect spell Hit chance. We want players to be able to gear themselves around a Hit cap that isn’t variable depending on group composition.
    Because gear juggling is SOOOOO much better.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses 


Radiance Wait why do they get to be shinier?

Spell damage 
Spell Crit 
Shadow Orbs Testicles!

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

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

Shadow Orbs: Casting spells grants a chance for Shadow Orbs to be created that fly around you and increase your shadow damage. This will help lower-level characters feel more like “Shadow priests” before they obtain Shadowform. So they’ll feel more like shamans?



A few quick clarifications: 

Neither Inner Fire nor Inner Will has charges. The decision is on which armor you want up at the time. 

Preventing dot clipping is something we want to do in general. It obviously benefits Shadow priests just as much as warlocks. 

The idea behind Mind Spike is that you can’t always settle into your normal, and high-ramp up rotation. It’s also useful when you have to move or get school locked. 

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). 

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. 

We pulled Misery because we are pulling every group benefit that improves hit. It’s annoying to have to swap your gear in and out depending on who shows up for your group. In general we’re going to push even harder in Cataclysm for bringing people you like to play with, not bringing people who have awesome buffs. The answer to almost every question of “But why would they bring me?” should be “Because you know what the hell you’re doing.”
Well fuck, don’t invite me to a raid ever again then.  >.>

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  1. #1 by Linedan on April 8, 2010 - 10:14 am

    Yo, Bubs. I heard you like to bubble, so here’s another bubble for your bubble so you can bubble while you bubble, dawg.

  2. #2 by Krikket on April 8, 2010 - 10:20 am

    Ways to abuse “Life Grip”:

    Yank some easily movement impaired class to you for no reason other than to fuck up their DPS.

    So … instead of being your go-to PI girl, I’m going to be your go-to Life Grip girl?

    Actually … if we can time this with my new cool Spiritwalker’s Grace? FLYING LIGHTNING TURRET GOGOGO!

  3. #3 by Oasic on April 8, 2010 - 10:30 am

    Thanks for this! When was the priest preview actually posted?

    Loved the Heal and Leap of Faith comments; I *will* abuse the spell.

    Looks like they are slowly bringing back all those race specific priest spells (ie. the troll’s shadow orbs). Go go star shards… maybe that’s Mind Spike!

  4. #4 by Anafielle on April 8, 2010 - 10:38 am

    OK, the dev who wrote that about Life Grip being a tool to save aggro-pulling melee had to be smoking something. Or there is an aggro cancel component as of yet unmentioned. If melee pulls aggro, gets life gripped out to range, and I have to go chasing after mobs…. TANK RAGE

  5. #5 by Ambrosine on April 8, 2010 - 10:40 am

    @Anafielle – Hahahaha. Oh man, that’d get old quick.

    Maybe we can LG them away BEFORE they pull aggro. I’d be hugging warlocks a lot, then.

  6. #6 by Krikket on April 8, 2010 - 10:48 am

  7. #7 by Andy on April 8, 2010 - 10:52 am

    Given that Death Grip includes a taunt component, perhaps Life Grip will include an aggro-removal/reduction component?

  8. #8 by Jasra on April 8, 2010 - 10:59 am

    “WHAT IS THIS I DON’T EVEN” – iknowrite? All I hear is clicking sounds.

    You have, by the way, changed my mind about Life Grip. I wasn’t going to have it on my action bars at all, but seeing how it can be abused … how can I resist! My only regret is that my warlock can’t do it too.

  9. #9 by Ayngel on April 8, 2010 - 11:56 am

    blah blah Holy blah

    made my day

  10. #10 by DannyOcean on April 8, 2010 - 12:52 pm

    I have to stop reading your blog at work. I get to many stares when I am giggling the whole time. Funny post since you became GM. Thank for the laughs.

    “My brain, it is–ooh, moar bubbles?” — best comment ever!

  11. #11 by Ceralyn on April 8, 2010 - 1:38 pm

    ^This says everything

  12. #12 by Joe Ego on April 8, 2010 - 3:32 pm

    Between Life Grip, Healing Rain, and Spiritwalker’s Grace there’d better be some distilled awesomesauce coming to Paladins. One… more… week. And then a few more months.

    Oh, and PW:Barrier? Divine Guardian says, “hi!”

  13. #13 by Nymphe on April 8, 2010 - 3:38 pm

    Life gripping the mouthy rogue in the raid or the ranged that refuse to move off the boss onto the adds, right into ‘thebad’ sounds like a perfect use of Life Grip to me.

    I also see myself healing the tanks and accidentally hitting lifegrip and being smacked in the face by the big bad too. I can hear the qq already…..

  14. #14 by Robbie on April 8, 2010 - 4:54 pm

    I remember something about Power Word: barrier….back before Wrath…History will repeat itself?

    Sounds like we are getting a kind of amorphous, weaksauce holyform type thingy. Will be fun to try, at least.

    I see tons of useful uses for Leap of Faith, I do. I can totally see how I can now pull idiots out of Sarth’s Lava Wall. Or, if I am feeling malicious, INTO said wall. Muahaha. Also, jump off a cliff and grip a “friend” to you, and then cast levitate on yourself only.

    Yay for lower level Shadow priests feeling less like…not-shadow-priests. Boo for this through floating shadow beachballs that we may be able to click to cause…wait, wtf? Just a weird mechanic.

  15. #15 by shadowtycho on April 9, 2010 - 2:00 am

    I lol’d

  16. #16 by Kaelandros on April 9, 2010 - 10:16 am

    Life Grip will turn out to be absolutely awesome, or the most epic of all epic fails.

    Its going to be fun to watch, this much is certain.

  17. #17 by Havelock on April 9, 2010 - 11:15 am

    You missed a use of Life Grip

    Step 1. Find a cliff.
    Step 2. Levitate.
    Step 3. ????
    Step 4. PROFIT.

  18. #18 by Cassandri on April 11, 2010 - 8:14 pm

    “Yank some easily movement impaired class to you for no reason other than to fuck up their DPS.”

    Oh golden. Must remember to do this… must look for Moonkin Eclipses… Rogues at 100% energy…

    Personally I think Mind Spike is the WORST spell name in the goddamn game. I also don’t think it’s fair when they name a new spell that, once abbrieviated, will become confused with another. MS MB and MF are already taken!

  19. #19 by Kah on April 12, 2010 - 2:18 am

    LOL! Viewing patch notes via the Amber Spyglass is always great entertainment. :)

    Off Topic: Did you know your guild recruitment board got owned by spam?
    ( I read it for my entertainment too, cant get enough of BoO! :p )

  1. Cataclysmic Priests « The Mediocre Priest
  2. The Times They Are A Changin « Reputation Grind
  3. The Shadow Priest Changes for Cataclysm

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