The initial Cataclysm changes for priests has now been announced. Some we were expecting, others may come as a shock, and some to be frank I don’t really understand the explanation of their addition/removal. Lets see what Cataclysm will bring for Priests.
Heal: I hadn’t really considered the addition/revival of another direct healing spell, but im certainly not going to knock it. This will offer us with a third viable direct healing spell and should fit in nicely between the Flash Heal (1.5s) and Greater Heal (2.5s).
Prayer of Spirit / Divine Spirit removed: With all the recent info on stat mechanics etc… it was inevitable that these would be removed. Essentially spirit will become a bread and butter stat in Cataclysm Healing and having it as an additional buff is unnecessary.
Radiance: I suspect the balancing for this talent may be ongoing for some time, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it reformed as a proc with an internal cooldown. Essentially every direct heal will cause an additional HoT. To little and its not worth having, to much and its overpowered… let the nerfs begin!
Power Word Barrier: This has been on the cards for some time and again how the mechanics and balancing of this spell are worked will be interesting. Personally I still think this will get pulled from the final release, although full credit to the devs if they can work a way of balancing this in grp/raid situations… It’s a lovely concept, but the practicality of introducing it and balancing it are daunting.
Leap of Faith: Firstly, misleading talent name! When you get over the name and read the content, its quite an interesting addition to the priests arsenal. I can certainly see the benefit of having such a spell although not necessarily the need. I think introducing something like this may say more about the sort of content we can expect in the next expansion. PvP whores are going to love this though, but again working the mechanics so that it is not abused is going to be interesting.
I’ve read a few bloggers this morning hesitant of this talent, and for the record I don’t disagree with them one bit. It is clear that this will be a useful utility, but it should not nullify the requirement for raid awareness. My primary function is to keep the raid alive, and whilst recovering dps from the fire may be included in this remit I am not there personal nanny. If you have agro on a mob I will save you, but if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time you will die! FACT!
Inner Will: This will give us a speed increase and reduces the cast of instant-cast spells by 10%. Down side, its either Inner Fire or Inner Will. Assuming they put something in the tree talents to upgrade this I would be quite interested in its situational functionality, although I suspect that 9 times out of 10 I will continue to use Inner Fire.
Chakra Effect: Ok, so they need to sort out a name, Matt has used Holy Form, which is as good as any, so I’ll go with that. Essentially upon casting 3 consecutive types of healing spells, i.e. AOE, Direct, HoT, you will go into a holy state, which will vary depending on the heal consecutively cast. This could work as a boost to haste, increased ticks on HoT’s, or maybe expanding your AOE to the whole raid… who knows, but im positively wetting myself at the prospect of this talent!
Other things to consider are the changes to mana pools, consumption and replenishement… The FSR is being removed, rightfully, replenishement talents are being worked and the word from blizz is that healing is going to be more fun, which basically means decision making is again paramount to the success of a raid!
Blizz has also coined the idea of lesser/Greater shields for disc(o) priests, i.e. you will have an uber shield which you will cast on the tanks and a lesser shield to bubble the grp/raid damage. Nice idea, could be a real mana drain though, and considering the above not sure what usage this will get.
There are a number of changes to shadow aswell, and whilst I will pass comment on some of these in a later post, I will generally leave this for the experts to mull over.
To conclude, there are some really interesting ideas coming out of this initial cataclysm preview, and I cant wait to get my teeth into some of them. One things for sure, Cataclysm will provide a new (fun) challenge for priests everywhere.