By now you've seen that Eyonix has started announcing some class changes
for the upcoming patch 3.1
. Priests were actually the first class up to bat this time around, and there are a handful of really cool changes in there. Some of them way cooler than they really need to be, so we'll see how things work out. Let's take a look, eh?
Adding Divine Spirit to every Priest's repertoire is, by itself, a pretty fantastic change. Now that Spirit is used by more classes than just the Priests themselves, Divine Spirit has awesome group utility. I suspect Improved Divine Spirit will remain a talent, but even without the improved version of the spell, it's a great little boost. I love this change so much that I'm actively looking for problems with it, so I can curb my enthusiasm. Hmm. Oh, I know! This will make me spend more money on reagents. Ugh, clearly this is just another money sink. How dare they! Slap in the face!
- Divine Spirit - this spell is now a core ability available to all Priests.
Nah, it's pretty cool.
This is a really awesome addition, essentially a Discipline-esque Circle of Healing. This should strengthen the Discipline niche very nicely, though we will need to see the numbers and cooldown on the spell. It's a great concept, and one that our very own Matticus actually recommended previously on another blog, though in a slightly overpowered iteration.
- Discipline has access to a new talent: Power Word: Barrier, which is similar to a group-wide Power Word: Shield.
This was sorely needed, and I'm pretty happy to see this change. The cooldown on Circle of Healing was needed, but it left the spell in a sort of awkward position. Now that you can weave targeted Prayers of Healing in between your Circle of Healing cooldowns, Priests are going to be absolute powerhouse AOE Healers again. That playstyle should be much more interesting that it was before. I honestly don't really care about Holy Nova though, it still won't be that great with a lower mana cost. I think the only legitimate use for it is killing Snake Trap snakes these days.
- Several area of effect (AOE) heal spells have been improved: Prayer of Healing can be cast on any groups in your raid party. Holy Nova's mana cost has been reduced. Circle of Healing now heals for more.
This is super nice, but I hope it's not the only PvP buff to Shadow that we'll see. They're great changes, but I don't think they'll be enough. I call this a start, and not much more than that.
- Shadow priest PvP survivability has been improved: Shadow Form now reduces magic as well as physical damage. Dispersion now removes snares.
This is huge. Huge huge huge. If you don't have much experience playing a Discipline Priest this likely doesn't seem like a big deal, but it's going to be really amazing. One of the harder to kill Healers in the game right now just became a little tougher. Penance has a weakness in that it's a channeled spell, but a little bit of instant, up-front healing goes a long way when you're being focus fired.
- Penance – this spell can now be targeted on the priest.
Flash Heals are great, but nothing beats a little bit of instant healing when you're in a bind. I fully expect to see Discipline Priests practicing a stutter-cast of the spell so they can hit themselves with a tick or two of healing, then stop the channeling before they get nailed with an interrupt, and then going back to their shields and such while Penance is on cooldown.
I'm not sure if this replaces its previous effect or is added on to it, but I'm going to assume it's a replacement. It'd be pretty absurdly powerful otherwise. I'm not really broken up about this change, because Priests are one of the classes that really do not give a crap about mana regen right now. You do in some situations, but not in most. Serendipity could have used a little change.
- Serendipity – this talent now reduces the cast time of Greater Heal and Prayer of Healing when Binding Heal or Flash Heal are cast.
I like seeing this change because it does a little bit of what I love about my Resto Shaman alt's talents (and glyphs). By the time you hit the top of the talent tree, every spell you cast enhances some other spell that you cast regularly. It all flows together, and encourages you to weave different spells together to maximize how effective you are. A lot of raid encounters might dull that down, but in 5-mans it's a pretty beautiful flow that I enjoy a lot. Seeing more of that in the Priest trees is exciting, much moreso than "10% more healing" or "5% more mana regen" and things like that. I love this change... for now. I'll make up my mind for sure when we see numbers.
Looking forward to seeing this, though Holy is not really my favorite thing in the world. I'd like to see what they do regardless.
- We are also working to give Holy additional PvP utility.
Overall, this patch is looking very interesting so far. Discipline is getting a whole lot of love, and Holy isn't far behind at all. I'm really hoping that we'll see more Shadow changes in the near future, but only time will tell.
Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.