Information about what's going on in the Cataclysm beta has been a little bit dodgy for priests here at Spiritual Guidance the past couple of months. That's largely in part to the fact that I haven't had access to the beta. Now, thanks to my new favorite people at NowGamer, I have a beta key. This means no more guesses and speculations on how things work.
The timing couldn't have been better either, since as of yesterday evening, the PTR for patch 4.0 became available for players to download. This means before long we'll be seeing the 31-point talent trees on live realms, and that means Cataclysm can't be too far off either. Exciting, don't you think?
So now, because discussion of beta has been going on for 6 months and changing every week, now seems like the best time to get everyone up to date and clarify any information that was unclear, mistaken, or just plain forgotten from the past few months. I have compiled a big, two part list of changes for healing priests that look like they're going to go live, so if you've been avoiding reading up on what's going on in the beta, the next two weeks of Spiritual Guidance are going to be articles you want to read. I've also got some video for you guys at the end! Let's go!
Regardless of whether you've been living below or above ground, the most basic of new information for priests are the new races we'll be able to play starting in Cataclysm. The 4 new races you can play a priest as are: gnome, worgen, tauren, and goblin.
The stats you've grown accustomed to acquiring the past couple of years are changing a little. Nothing too dramatic has happened, but there are things you should know.
- MP5 is completely gone. You won't find this stat on your gear anymore.
- Spellpower is mostly gone. You'll still occasionally find it on weapons (to differentiate them as caster weapons) but other than that you can kiss it goodbye. Even the Wrath gear you'll be wearing before you start playing the expansion will have its stats overhauld.
- Stamina is still around, and the necessity for it remains (unless you're planning on fighting Lady Godiva style.)
- Intellect will do three things for you now. Previously it increased your mana pool and improved your crit rating. It still does that, but now intellect is your primary supplier of spellpower. Much in the way that ret paladins currently get attack power from strength, you will now have your spellpower converted from intellect.
- Spirit is now the primary mana regen stat for all healers, even you, disco priests. If you're planning on healing from the start of the expansion you may want to make sure your existing gear is Cataclysm friendly. Existing MP5 gear will be converted into spirit gear, but if you're a disc priest rocking out in shadow priest tier, now may be time to grab some healer gear. This all said, the gear you get from the level 80 zones in Cataclysm are better than your 264, so only if you have 277 pieces is this really going to be an issue.
- Mastery is the new hotness. You'll start seeing gear with mastery on it very early on. Mastery will improve Shield Discipline (by 2.5 percent per point) for disc priests and Echo of Light (by 1.25 percent per point) for holy priests. Shield Discipline increases your absorption abilities (Power Word: Shield, Power Word: Barrier, Divine Aegis) and Echo of Light applies a 6 second HoT to all your direct healing.
- Haste still lowers your cast time, but for HoTs (e.g. Renew) and channeled spells (e.g. Penance) there are some differences. Haste will now lower the duration of your heal over time spells, or, given you have enough haste, give you an additional tick of the spell. (If you'd like to read some light theorycraft on this, check in with Derevka. If not, I will discuss this in more detail when the changes are live.)
- Crit is pretty much the same, which means it's still just as lovable as it always was.
All priests will be getting a collection of new or remodeled spells.
- Heal is back. After two expansions of sitting in the backseat, Heal has returned and will scale all the way up to level 85. The new Heal is super cheap, has a cast time equivalent to Greater Heal, and heals for a little less than the very expensive Flash Heal. Disc priests can look forward to this spell reducing the duration of the Weakened Soul debuff on targes, while holy priests will find it incorporated into their single-target healing stance when using Chakra.
- Inner Will is the sister of Inner Fire (you can only have one of the two buffs up at a time.) You'll acquire this spell at level 83, and it will decrease the cost of your spells by 15 percent and increase your movement speed by 10 percent. Additionally, the charges from Inner Fire have been removed, and thus Inner Will will not have charges either.
- Mind Spike is a new shadow school offensive ability. Not so exciting for healers, but still, a baseline ability is one that can be utilized. The coolest thing about it is the spell counts as both shadow and frost damage, so if you're ever locked out of both your holy and shadow schools, you can at least do a little damage with this spell until they're usable again.
- Leap of Faith is possibly the new signature ability of healing priests everywhere. Acquired at level 85, Leap of Faith, or "lifegrip" as we've come to call it, will allow you to grab friendly players in your raid or party, and pull them to your side. This means you can save players in all sorts of new and creative ways. Did a player get hit by an unavoidable stun and there is an Indiana Jones-esque boulder rolling towards them? Lifegrip! Dimwitted druid standing in a fire? Lifegrip! Player disconnects right before a tidal wave? Lifegrip! The potential is amazing. Just wait until you're fighting Lich King for nostalgia achievements and you can lifegrip players from being dropped off the edge.
- Cure Disease is not new, but with the removal of Abolish Disease, this is your new go to spell for dispelling disease debuffs.
In a recent article I mentioned I'd be discussing the new or changed glyphs today. For the sake of space, I've listed just the glyphs that are new or different.
- Flash Heal -- Increases the critical effect chance of your Flash Heal on targets at or below 25% health by 10%. Flash Heal is extremely costly in the new expansion and Blizzard would like to keep it that way. By changing this glyph from mana cost reduction to effectiveness when targets are low, priests will continue to think twice about using it when it is unnecessary yet have more reasons to use it in a bind.
- Guardian Spirit -- Reduces the cooldown of your Guardian Spirit by 30 sec. With the removal of Aspiration, disc priests have seen their Pain Suppression return to a 3 minute cooldown. Expectedly, the Glyph of Guardian Spirit has been adjusted to simply reduce the cooldown. Guardian Spirit and Pain Suppression both have their strengths and weaknesses (one reduces damage for a duration of time, one saves a player from a killing blow within a duration of time. One applies a healing buff, the other doesn't) but I think both abilities will continue to be equally valuable. Holy priests shouldn't feel too snubbed by this since cooldowns are being tweaked across the board. Encounters will likely be adjusted to suit these new cooldowns. If you ever feel inferior, just remember, Pain Suppression still can't save players from things like Rocket Strike.
- Lightwell -- Increases the total amount of charges of your Lightwell by 5. Lightwell was already super efficient without a glyph, so now with the hope that the spell might get more use in parties and raids the charges have been raised.
- Power Word: Barrier -- Increases the healing received while under the Barrier by 10%. Power Word: Barrier got a base buff to it's absorption this week on the beta, but this glyph will make it even stronger.
- Shadow Word: Death -- If your Shadow Word: Death fails to kill the target at or below 25% health, your Shadow Word: Death's cooldown is instantly reset. This is great for all priests when soloing, but healing priests should take note of the glyph and remember: make sure to keep a shield on shadow priests. Now, when an enemy is below 25 percent health, there is even more danger of our shadowy friends killing themselves. You know they get excited sometimes.
- Shadow Word: Pain -- Increases the periodic damage of your Shadow Word: Pain by 10%. Looks like we won't be able to sneak back mana when we're in 5-mans anymore. The change to this glyph will be a nice buff to shadow priests though.
- Divine Accuracy -- Increases you chance to hit with your Smite by 18%. This is one glyph you'll want to take in order to effectively use Evangelism and Archangel in raids, PvP, and solo questing.
- Holy Nova -- Reduces the global cooldown of your Holy Nova by .5 sec. Improved Holy Nova for all! Yay! Disc priest rejoice! The new glyph no longer buffs the damage and healing, but we'll be able to use it twice as often. Plus, now that Holy Nova is raid wide, this will be very effective for all priests.
- Mass Dispel -- Reduces the cast time of Mass Dispel by 1 sec. Previously in the beta, the talent Focused Power got moved up so that shadow priests and holy priests could enjoy the benefit of faster Mass Dispels. That talent go swept out with more consolidation of the talent trees though, so now there is a glyph to replace the talent. The nice thing about making it a glyph is that we can only bind it when we need it instead of taking it in our cookie cutter specs.
- Psychic Scream -- Cause your Psychic Scream to tremble targets in place instead of fleeing in fear, but increases the cooldown of your Psychic Scream by 3 sec. This is a big change for shadow priests and healing priests. This is effectively a means of crowd control in and out of dungeons for the PvE priest. PvPers will probably prefer to not add on a 3 second cooldown, but in PvE this means you can finally use your Psychic Scream without pulling everything down the hall. For healing priests there will probably be issues with hit and resists in raid dungeons, but in 5-mans we'll likely be able to participate in crowd control now. Woohoo!
This first video is a very short and simple look at Leap of Faith. (Thanks to Arnoldlayne of <Fallen> for the footage. You can see him abusing the previously bugged Leap of Faith here.) There are a couple things to take note of from this video. The first is that you can see Arnold gets knocked out of shadowform when he uses lifegrip; just something to keep in mind. The second is the animation looks just like Death Grip. A bit uninspiring, huh? I suspect Blizzard is planning a new animation in the near future, since purple lightning doesn't really fit our priestly aesthetic.
Next I've got look at the speed increase on Inner Will. Arnold toggles between Inner Fire and Inner Will twice in the video, and though the speed increase is small, it's definitely noticeable.
Since I've made a big fuss over how awesome the new Glyph of Psychic Scream is, I decided to show you guys some video of it. You can see it works quite nicely.
Finally, I wanted to leave you guys with a little preview of the game footage I'll be showing off next week when I finish the second part of my Cataclysm roundup for priests. Talents and tier 11 will be the focus of discussion! See you next week, and enjoy!