Every week (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a UI and addons blog for WoW.
With patch 3.3 very close on the horizon, I figured now might be a good time to go over the few changes priests will be seeing. I'm also going to provide a list of possible juicy items for you to look forward to from the Icecrown Citadel raid, the Icecrown dungeons and the Emblem of Frost vendor. After all, you can't look to take down Arthas without sporting some new threads, right?
Let's start off with the class changes.
Divine Hymn: Cooldown reduced to 8 minutes (currently at 10 minutes). This was largely done to help ensure that certain cooldowns would become available faster when working on encounters with limited attempts. In other words, it sucked that Trial of the Grand Crusader attempts would last for about 3 minutes or so before a wipe was called. Another 7 minutes would be needed before the cooldowns were free again. This will help reduce the down time.
Power Word: Shield: You can cast this on non-raid and party targets who are friendly. Now you can keep Varian alive a little bit longer when Horde are beating him down.
That's it for the healing changes. What about for our shadow guys? Shadow priests will be seeing some DPS increases for sure with these changes:
Improved Devouring Plague: The spell dishes out 10/20/30% of it's periodic effect damage instantly (Currently does 5/10/15%).
Mind Flay: Increases the range of Mind Flay to 30 yards (Currently at 20). The other difference is that the Glyph of Mind Flay doesn't provide the range increase since it's already included in the base spell now. Instead, the new Glyph of Mind Flay increases the damage done by Mind Flay by an additional 10% when the target has Shadow Word: Pain.
Shadowform: The talent affects Devouring Plague and Vampiric Touch to see benefits from your haste rating. The period length and duration will be reduced by haste and the mana cost has been reduced from 32% to 13% of your base mana. This is a great help in case priests need to switch in and out of forms for specific reasons (like firing off a few heals during an intense part of an encounter).
Vampiric Embrace: The ability provides a 30 minute buff to the priest that cannot be dispelled (Currently is a debuff applied on targets that can be removed). The healing generated will result from single-target shadow damage spells only.
Our Shadowfiend has seen some changes.
Avoidance (passive ability) : Damage taken from area-of-effect spells and abilities are reduced by 90% but it no longer applies to AoE caused by players.
Priest upgrades from the new heroic 5 mans
Well, this is it. patch 3.3 is expected to be the last major content patch before Cataclysm comes out and there's a ton of gear for us from Icecrown.
Although none of these have any gem sockets in them, you might wish to consider Prelate's Snowshoes (Tyrannus in Pit of Saron on heroic), Braid of Salt and Fire (Ick in Pit of Saron on heroic), or Strip of Remorse (Chest from Halls of Reflection on heroic). Of the two belts, you probably want the Strip if you're Discipline. Mord'rethar Robes (Devourer of Souls in Forge of Souls on heroic) and the Suspiciously Soft Gloves (Marwyn in Halls of Reflection on heroic) do not have haste on them but have a decent amount of critical strike rating.
I wonder what makes them so suspiciously soft.
Looking for some weapons? Surgeon's Needle is a decent dagger from Forgemaster Garfrost (Pit of Saron). Pair it up with the Shriveled Heart from the chest that is offered in the Halls of Reflection.
For trinkets, there's the Ephemeral Snowflake which drops from Marwyn. The unique component of the trinket is that when you heal a target with one of your spells, you gain 11 mana. Just think about that for a sec. The 11 mana kicks in whenever a Renew ticks. It happens when your Circle of Healing heals 5 different targets. I'm not sure if it will still grant the mana if your targets are at full health. The on use effect is a hefty 464 haste rating which lasts 20 seconds. I suppose you could cycle it with Power Infusion during high stress situations.
Priest raiding loot
Even though the instance is gated, there's still some great drops from the early bosses. For instance, look at the Althor's Abacus trinket which has a chance on heal to cause another nearby friendly target to be instantly healed for 5550 - 6450. The extra 179 spellpower from it is handy. Even better? It drops from the Gunship encounter which means it'll be accessible from the start. Out of the 10 mans, there's the Sliver of Pure Ice which seems really lackluster (it's like a mana potion every 2 minutes).
Need a new neck? Bone Sentinel's Amulet is available if you get lucky with Lord Marrowgar. Holiday's Grace will have to wait until the plague wing with Festergut is opened up. For the Shadow Priests, there's always Amulet of the Silent Eulogy (off of the Gunship encounter).
There's several choices when it comes to rings. Remember that the Ashen Verdict will award you with their own reputation rings that will increase in quality based on your standing with them. Otherwise, I would pair the Ashen Band of Wisdom with either Ring of Rapid Ascent (Gunship Battle) or Marrowgar's Frigid Eye (Lord Marrowgar).
For weapons, there's a nice assortment to select from. Frozen Bonespike will be available immediately from Lord Marrowgar. Feel free to pair that up with Shadow Silk Spindle. The other option is a nifty little mace called Trauma. Every time you heal a target, there's a chance the target of your heal will heal themselves and friends within 10 yards for 217 each second for 6 seconds. From the 10 mans, start off with Midnight Sun (Gunship battle) or Mag'hari Chieftain's Staff.
Crystal Spire of Karabor version 2? I think so!
There's also the Corpse-Impaling Spike for wands (but you'll fighting with the other DPS casters for that as well).
Since we Priests like our tier sets and our haste, there's the Plague Scientist's Boots. These will come later though since the boots drop from Festergut. Incidentally enough, the Crushing Coldwraith Belt seems to have the exact same stats as the boots. Holy Priests will want to consider the Lingering Illness later on (also from Festergut). The only wrist upgrades will be Death Surgeon's Sleeves (Rotface 25) and Bracers of Dark Blessings (Lady Deathwhisper on 10s).
Among cloaks, there are two choices: Frostbinder's Shredded Cape (Valithria Dreamwalker who comes later on and won't be immediately accessible) and Greatcloak of the Turned Champion (The Deathbringer who is available).
Priest tier gear
Our tier stuff is going to be the last items we wear for the rest of the expansion.
- Crimson Acolyte Gloves - 60 Emblems of Frost
- Crimson Acolyte Hood - 95 Emblems of Frost
- Crimson Acolyte Leggings - 95 Emblems of Frost
- Crimson Acolyte Robe - 95 Emblems of Frost
- Crimson Acolyte Shoulderpads - 60 Emblems of Frost
You can make the following legs and boots with these Ashen Verdict recipes:
- Pattern: Leggings of Woven Death
- Pattern: Deathfrost Boots
- Pattern: Lightweave Leggings
- Pattern: Sandals of Consecration
Not much is known about the heroic gear at this time. Some items have been discovered but you can expect them to be slightly higher up versions of the normal raiding loot.
Good luck in there!
Want to find more great tips for carrying out your Priestly duties? Spiritual Guidance has you covered with all there is to know! And don't forget to check out our other Leveling Guides as well as our Wrath Guides and Galleries!