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Cataclysm Priest Changes


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#1 Narcosleepy

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Posted 06 April 2010 - 11:51 PM

With the upcoming changes being announced keep the following guidelines in mind when posting. This is the place to discuss these changes only.

Failure to do so will result in an automatic infraction.

  • Do not merely link blue post information without any useful contribution of your own.
  • Do not bitch, whine or moan about the changes during your discussion of them.
  • Do not suggest what you think Blizzard should do. Neither we nor Blizzard care about your great idea.
  • Do not post class change discussion in the current 3.3.3 threads.
  • Do remember that all normal rules apply.
  • Do remember that these are proposed changes and subject to fine tuning and/or complete overhaul.


#2 Malkara

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 07:20 AM

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 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.

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.

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.

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).
•We want to bring back Shadow Word: Death as an "execute" -- something you do when the target is at 25% health.
•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.
•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.
•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.

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.
•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.
•We want to improve Shadow for short fights and reduce its susceptibility to school lockouts.
•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.
•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.
•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.


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.

Shadow

•Spell damage
•Spell Crit
•Shadow Orbs

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.

We hope you enjoyed this preview, and we're looking forward to hearing your initial thoughts and feedback on these additions and changes. Please keep in mind that this information represents a work in progress and is subject to change as development on Cataclysm continues.


There are a lot of interesting things in this, the main attraction appears to be Life Grip, I am really looking forward to playing with that.

#3 Kashir

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 07:38 AM

Life Grip is absolutely hilarious. Can't wait to play with it.

Adding a moderate heal, and improving both Holy and Disc as single-target healers. Nothing unexpected there.

The Improved Healing state (Holyform!?) is an interesting concept. Perhaps they're trying to build Serendipity-like rotations into a core mechanic of the spec? It's something we're already almost forced into with the CoH / PoM cooldowns, so I hope they make the mechanic feel flexible rather than simply restricting us further.

I would very much have liked to see some attention paid to our overstuffed, clunky and niche-heavy spellbook. Hopefully, it's more the case that they just didn't want to focus on our current heals during the preview.

I haven't played Shadow seriously since BC so I can't speak as to the gameplay implications, but I really like the concept of the shadow orbs. Hope to see more info about this soon!

Edit:

Q u o t e:
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, I guess the Chakra isn't really a Serendpity-type mechanic. I can't help but think that it would make more sense as a stance-toggle; forcing a triple cast seems very, very clunky. As an example, if I want to switch to "AOE" mode, casting 3xPoH in a row seems like a slow and horribly inefficient way to do so.

#4 Rownt

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 07:51 AM

I'm very excited about both shadow and healing changes. The concept of a Power Word: Barrier adds an element of damage prevention to disc that requires some thought besides mashing my 1 key, and Leap of Faith is a godsend for that one person in the raid who's always just a little... slow. I agree the three PoH system sounds quite clunky; I wonder the time frame in which you have to cast these spells, and if you have to switch "states" manually or if it kind of happens as you heal.

I like the idea of shadow orbs, as I've always thought of the shadow priest as a little cousin to the Warlock; now we might have our own little Soul Shard system to play around with. All in all, pretty excited.

#5 Hegen

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 07:56 AM

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).


This is going to introduce haste plateaus, make optimized gearing pretty complex. We will always have to shoot for just enough haste to reach the next level of haste where an additional hot tick fits in.

The simple fact is this. We are told to concentrate more. But we can only do that if we are allowed to go considerably faster.


#6 Mr. Crow

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 08:01 AM

I haven't played Shadow seriously since BC so I can't speak as to the gameplay implications, but I really like the concept of the shadow orbs. Hope to see more info about this soon!


The shadow orbs mechanic brings up a couple interesting questions. Mainly, I wonder what effect increasing Mastery at upper levels will do. Does greater Mastery increase the frequency of gaining an orb? does it increase the potency of an indiviual orb? What kind of internal cooldown can we expect on proccing orbs? will orbs become a kind of secondary resource if spells like mind blast can consume orbs for added damage?

In terms of adding value to the shadow rotation without fundamentally changing how it works, I think it's pretty cool. I think Mind Spike will be situational, but I can understand why they want to add it.

Assuming Leap of Faith is a Holy spell, there's a good chance it won't affect Shadow at all, but it would be a neat tool to give to a DPS class. And Inner Will... will only affect Devouring Plague with it's mana reduction component.

It'll be interesting to play with the idea of having Inner Fire up when doing the DPS rotation, but then switching to Inner Will when going on the run. The removal of the limited charges will make that very fun to play with.

Overall, the new additions to the toolkit are interesting. I think Shamans might have won out in terms of getting cooler toys to play with, but as has been stated, Priests have a pretty big spellbook as it is.

My translation of this preview: "Priests are pretty good as they stand, but we can tweak them to make them better. Here are a couple toys that will help with that."

Definitely interesting in hearing more, and definitely eager to see the beta.

#7 ttyl

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 09:13 AM

The idea of choosing the right "Inner" is cool, but I don't see what current gap/deficiency Inner Will is supposed to fill? Compared to Inner Fire's (Glyphed) armor, it doesn't seem to be for PVP.

#8 Theiswyn

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 09:33 AM

This is going to introduce haste plateaus, make optimized gearing pretty complex. We will always have to shoot for just enough haste to reach the next level of haste where an additional hot tick fits in.


As they are removing HoT / DoT clipping it might be possible to get around this by refreshing just before the buff fades. That does seem a little clunky though as it will take exceptional timing and some luck with the global cool down for this to work well.

#9 Hegen

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 10:07 AM

As they are removing HoT / DoT clipping it might be possible to get around this by refreshing just before the buff fades. That does seem a little clunky though as it will take exceptional timing and some luck with the global cool down for this to work well.


Even if we're able to pull that off (I don't think so, at least not when hotting the raid), we will still shoot for hitting just the right amount of haste in order to gain efficiency. Another HoT tick for the same amount of mana means we might resocket frequently to adjust our haste level.

The simple fact is this. We are told to concentrate more. But we can only do that if we are allowed to go considerably faster.


#10 Svena

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 11:13 AM

Inner Will (level 83): Increases movement speed by 12% and reduces the mana cost of instant-cast spells by 10%.

Vanilla WOW run speed increase on boots for healers was heavenly for catching tanks or dps inspired to run accross a room.
This will be something I will be looking forward to & will ease the pressure on healing stress.

#11 Elvissa

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 11:35 AM

I'm pretty unexcited about these changes as Holy.

Leap of Faith will be great in PVP and for griefing people, but in PVE it'll just encourage terrible players to stay standing in fires as why move when a Priest can do it for you?!

The Chakra thing sounds interesting but it depends on the implementation. If it's 3 of any AOE spell to activate AOE mode then that's not too terrible but if it's 3 POH then the bonus had better be astoundingly good.

I'd have liked to have seen some other things too. Why not an improved version of Lightwell like the one in TOC5 or maybe some different size AOE spells (like a Lesser COH with a shorter cooldown). Hopefully there'll be more stuff announced.

#12 perun

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 11:45 AM

Well the Life Grip sounds a little bit dangerous to me - imagine you as a healer retain high aggro, but as you are not in a melee range, boss/trash will stay on tank/melee dps. And now you Life Grip to save someone who overaggroed = take him to you = bring the boss/trash closer as it will chase that one until someone else gets aggro (=problem when mob will be running)...

#13 Elimbras

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 11:46 AM

Even if we're able to pull that off (I don't think so, at least not when hotting the raid), we will still shoot for hitting just the right amount of haste in order to gain efficiency. Another HoT tick for the same amount of mana means we might resocket frequently to adjust our haste level.


We need to see the specific implementation.
But I can hope for a good one, without plateau at least for damage dealers.
That would be the case if when "clipping" the spell, the first tick takes into account the last time the dot ticked (ie, ensure a correct tick intertime when refreshing), just like it is currently with SW:P. Additionnaly, you need the hot/dot duration to take into account the "lasting" time on the dot, and add it to the duration, instead of just refreshing to max duration. You can cap it to let's say max duration + 2s, to prevent abuse. A similar mechanism already exists for DK runes (a rune used 0.5s after refresh gets a 9.5s cd, not 10s).
This means that when chaining the hots/dots, we gain precisely 4.32 ticks per cast.
For hots on tanks, that would be also fine. For hots on raid, it would be a little more difficult, but that's typically the case when we don't care so much about the last tick.

#14 Ravenmyst

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 02:52 PM

Some interesting ideas and changes. The lifegrip of course stands out. Sounds like it could be fun and useful but could also be trouble. I hope they keep it in there tho. Yes it has some griefing potential but if its party/raid only that not too bad, and it might just save a life from time to time. Another interesting/fun ability like Body and Soul can be that in the right hands can make a difference in some encounters. I have a feeling the encounters in cataclysm will probably present opportunities to put it to good use as well, at least I hope so. :)

I like the haste affecting our hots.. that should be a nice increase in HPS potential but like others have said, it will make gearing/gemming a lot more interesting I'm sure.

Inner will seems more like a gimmick then a useful spell to me. Good for getting back from raid wipes then back to inner fire. Perhaps it will have use on some encounters but body and soul generally takes care of any speed boosts i need. If they had perhaps swapped them out like... inner fire = bonus to spellpower and the mana regen. And inner will = bonus to armor and run speed. That seems to make more sense to me. Then one would be an obvious pve ability and the other an obvious pvp ability.

The empowered state for Holy sounds like fun, will be interesting to see how it effects how we heal, may cause us to change our sudo rotation of sorts or may just fit right in to what we already do.

My biggest concern is Radiance.. it seems completely out of place as a holy mastery. Adding a hot to our single target spells which we rarely use instead of a bonus to our raid heals seems, well, out of place. It would be similar to giving it to a shaman.. they'd probably give you a funny look too, although, coincidentally they also are getting a direct healing bonus... not sure what Blizzard is trying to do here but it seems off to me.

#15 Kaacee

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 02:56 PM

Leap of Faith will be great in PVP and for griefing people, but in PVE it'll just encourage terrible players to stay standing in fires as why move when a Priest can do it for you?!


Levitation + Leap of Faith should lead to some laughs.

#16 Althor

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 03:01 PM

My thoughts regarding Mind Spike are thus:

1) This really needs to be our core filler spell, not Mind Flay. Unless they do some serious recoding of how channeled spells function, and they separate the damage from the snare then Mind Flay will remain a burden for all Shadow Priests that play with higher and variable latency. It's not fun knowing that your class suffers significantly more than other similar classes purely because of a technical issue and not due to other balancing concerns.

2) If Mind Spike was to be made the main filler spell then it's quite probable that the specified 1.5 second cast time would be too short. Much like Wrath for a Moonkin it would seem probable that at some point our main filler spell would become haste capped. What's more the sheer number of actions per second would seem to be heading in the direction that Maul and Heroic Strike etc. are now. Maybe a 2.0 second cast time would be more appropriate if it was to become our filler.

3) I'm a little confused about the stacking debuff component of Mind Spike. For a spell touted as a good spell to use on fast dying targets it seems somewhat counter-intuitive that to get the most from the spell you need to cast it multiple times on the same target and that as soon as that target dies you need to start building up the stacks on the next. Wouldn't a buff on the Priest make more sense?

#17 TheDoctor

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 03:15 PM

Right now everything is speculation. Because priests already have a large number of healing tools I didn't expect to see the "WOW new healing spell" and I did expect PW:Barrier to finally maybe make a real appearance. Things could go very well for us.

Absorption makes sense for Disc so I agree with it in general and Radiance could be in line for Holy. I expected to see more information about where they are going to go with Absorption though. At the moment if every Holy direct heal has a HoT it is highly suspect that there will be a balance issue with absorption mastery, considering that PW:S would be better but they desire spam of it to be a less prevalent playstyle and DA only occurs on Crits. Which would indicate that Absorption Mastery would come into play overall less often than the Radiance Mastery.

It is also concerning in the method by which they will make PW:Shield spam less attractive. If this is done because PW:Barrier is better when you need more shields and that we are more competitive for tank/single target healing then fine. But if PW:Shield is reduced in effectiveness to the point of becoming obsolete then I don't like it at all. Additionally, as Rapture/BT are right now tied to PW:Shield I expected some "plan" on where they see those heading. Heck I use PW:Shield pre-emptively just to get a BT sometimes if PW:Shield is either to expensive or to weak to make it worth using in those causes it makes the BT mechanic less useful and less interesting for playstyle manipulation.

The "Chakra" talent has lots of potential though I don't like it being a Holy only talent. I would like to see that be available from the tree's for both Disc/Holy. If Holy can "Chakra" to tank healing and be effective (effective being = competitve) with Paladin/Disc on tank healing then it could make Holy too strong and the capable of every situation spec.

Evertyhing will come down to how they tweak the numbers of the spells so not much to dig into yet. It is exciting to see what comes.

#18 pdpi

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 03:20 PM

As they are removing HoT / DoT clipping it might be possible to get around this by refreshing just before the buff fades. That does seem a little clunky though as it will take exceptional timing and some luck with the global cool down for this to work well.


If I'm reading the priest and warlock changes correctly, it doesn't really require exceptional timing. Two consecutive casts should just give you a double length renew. If that's the case, you just need to make sure you spend some GCDs refreshing renew while making sure you're not extending it far past the end of the fight, or spending GCDs you can't afford.

#19 levk

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 03:48 PM

If I'm reading the priest and warlock changes correctly, it doesn't really require exceptional timing. Two consecutive casts should just give you a double length renew. If that's the case, you just need to make sure you spend some GCDs refreshing renew while making sure you're not extending it far past the end of the fight, or spending GCDs you can't afford.


I'm reading it differently, and I doubt it would work that way anyway since then they'd have to balance encounters around somebody putting 10 minutes worth of HoTs on people before pull. What I read is visually it'll be much the same it is now, when you reapply 10 second HoT that ticks once a second it will have 10 seconds left on it and tick again 1 second since it ticked last as opposed to now if you reapplied it with 0.5 seconds on the next tick timer it would wait 1.5 seconds before another tick.

#20 RootBreaker

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Posted 08 April 2010 - 03:48 PM

3) I'm a little confused about the stacking debuff component of Mind Spike. For a spell touted as a good spell to use on fast dying targets it seems somewhat counter-intuitive that to get the most from the spell you need to cast it multiple times on the same target and that as soon as that target dies you need to start building up the stacks on the next. Wouldn't a buff on the Priest make more sense?

They didn't actually say it was a stacking debuff.

It might just be a non-stacking debuff with a short duration.




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