Information on the 4.1 patch has started slowly filtering through. Can you say nostalgia? I remember Zul'Gurub being one of my first raid instances. I was just a young dwarf priest then. My beard was still in the first stage of infancy. I remember trying to finish out the Zul'Gurub gear sets.
While nothing is finalized just yet, there is an interesting ability being added that'll be of benefit to healing corps of all sizes. From who? Arms warriors! Rallying Cry *New* (Level 83) temporarily grants you and all party or raid members within 30 yards 20% of maximum health for 10 seconds. After the effect expires, the health is lost; 3-min, cooldown, instant.
I don't know enough about melee DPS to determine whether or not an arms warrior is going to be attractive in raids or not with all those buffs, but I sure love seeing more defensive-minded cooldowns being spread out. No information as of yet on potential cooldowns for druids and shamans. You crazy and creative readers had much to say about it last week, so props to you guys. Although none of us will ever get to do much in terms of design, it is rather fun to try armchair game design once in a while.
Some of the preliminary data out there shows slight changes inbound for healers.
Class mechanics changes
- Word of Glory gets a 20-second cooldown. Holy paladins will have a talent called Walk in the Light that removes the cooldown from it. I guess the change is there to slow down the casts for it used by retribution and protection paladins.
- In other minor cooldown nerfs, the raid-wide last stand known as Divine Guardian has had its cooldown raised to 3 minutes (up from 2).
- Most of the changes to shaman have had their AoE effects altered. Purification has been buffed to increase healing spell effectiveness by 25% instead of 10%.
Body and Soul now increases the target's movement speed by 12/25% down from 30/60%. This is a tooltip error. There does not seem to be any intention to nerf this holy priest talent. All I can say is -- whew!
- Some intriguing Dispel Magic changes for priests are kicking in. The base version of Dispel Magic can only be self-cast on the priest to remove one magic debuff or used against enemies to remove a buff from them. However, the moment you go into discipline or holy, the Absolution mastery kicks in. This lets you dispel other players, and it can remove two magic debuffs instead.
- Divine Aegis gets a slight buff and lasts 15 seconds instead of 12 seconds. I don't know about you, but my Aegis usually gets punched through fairly quickly on most fights -- but it's not a bad change if you're trying to pre-shield your allies.
Healing loot (or at least, trinkets)
Everyone loves healing loot! We got some cool trinkets to play with this time around. The ones listed here are the heroic versions, and you'll most likely find these as drops from the raid instances coming in 4.1.
- Jaws of Defeat Can't say I remember seeing another item or trinket with this type of mechanic before. Use it and as you are healing, your spells get progressively cheaper. I'd love to get my hands on this trinket on the PTR. My first instinct is to load up as many single-target healing spells as possible before progressing over to AoE healing or really expensive spells to really take advantage of the mana reduction on the tail end of this trinket.
- Eye of Awareness This reminds me of Althor's Abacus. I suspect it'll function the same way. I'm glad to see this type of trinket brought back in some fashion. I'm not sure it'll rank compared to the other ones, but my guess is that it'll be a solid pickup for any healer.
- Fiery Quintessence This trinket will be handy for all healers. With a new tier of content, I think additional baseline spirit will be necessary, as stat minimums for raids and content will rise. Note the intellect boost for 25 seconds. I wonder if that's a typo or intentional, if you compare it with the next trinket below. Use the trinket when that extra healing throughput is needed.
- Mark of the Firelord Perhaps optimal for discipline priests or restoration shaman? There will be some possible competition with DPS casters. I'm personally not the biggest fan of on-use trinkets, but it does offer a nice a big boost to your intellect for 15 seconds. Its great if you need the extra Rapture tickets, and the increase to spellpower will be a benefit during any burst healing phases that are needed.
Which trinket attracts you the most? This is just the first of several updates that'll be coming with 4.1. I bet we'll be seeing more balance changes.
It seems like a few minor adjustments could be in store for our healing circles. I wonder if that's just a values change, an effects change, or a visual effects change. It'd be nice for a way to dim the intensity when the circles are on the ground. I've punked the melee classes in my raid group before by stacking Healing Rain, Efflorescence and Holy Word: Sanctuary on the exact same spot before. They had to put on shades just to see their DPS targets.
Need advice on working with the healers in your guild? Raid Rx has you covered. Send your questions about raid healing to firstname.lastname@example.org. For less healer-centric raiding advice, visit Ready Check for advanced tactics and advice for the endgame raider.