Like a sperm whale (or a bowl of petunias), patch 4.3 might be hitting live servers this week. Whichever it is, it's going to be a big one, so I figured I'd piece together a small guide for holy and discipline priests that recaps, follows up, and aggregates tons of stuff you might have forgotten or completely missed about the patch.
I'll also be addressing that little talent calculator that popped in for a visit in the middle of last week and wiped its feet all over my clean carpet.
A reminder on what's changing
Just in case you forgot what's going down for priests when the patch lands, here are the patch notes as I would write them.
- Divine Hymn is getting a baseline buff. It will now affect five targets instead of three.
- Atonement will now take the size of an enemy target into account so players can receive healing while in melee range of a creature, even if that creature is far bigger than the numerical reach of Atonement. Think massive bosses like Ala'kir and Ragnaros.
- The delay between a holy priest's death and the time when he can start casting spells as the Spirit of Redemption should be less noticeable.
- The talent State of Mind is being removed, which means priests will now need to work a lot harder to make Billy Joel jokes.
- The talent Heavenly Voice will be replacing State of Mind, reducing the cooldown of Divine Hymn by 2.5/5 minutes and increasing the spell's healing done by 50/100%. We'll also be getting a creepy new icon of a singing draenei to go with it.
- The healing bonus granted by Guardian Spirit has been increased to 60% from 40%.
- Holy Word: Serenity had its cooldown reduced to 10 seconds, down from 15 seconds. No word on whether the duration effect will work, though.
- The Glyph of Circle of Healing will now also increase the mana cost of the spell by 20% to pay for the extra healing done by the spell. The developers basically don't want you using Circle of Healing to heal two people and a pet anymore.
Follow-up to tier 13 set bonuses
The last time I discussed tier 13 set bonuses for discipline and holy priests was the beginning of October. Things weren't quite set in stone then, so I want to revisit the bonuses and look at them as they appeared in the latest PTR build.
- Two-piece After using Power Infusion or Divine Hymn, the mana cost of your healing spells is reduced by 25% for 23 seconds.
- Four-piece Your Power Word: Shield has a 10% chance to absorb 100% additional damage and increase the mana granted by Rapture by 100%, and the duration of your Holy Word abilities is increased by 33%.
Looking at these bonuses as they currently stand, I'm going to go ahead and continue to recommend that you try to get your set bonuses, but if you can't get them, don't get too stressed about it. As the developers' mantra goes, none of these bonuses are supposed to be game-breaking, and these may be some of the least game-breaking bonuses I've seen in recent memory. Mathematically, they might match up to some previous bonuses, but this is the first time I've seen every single bonus have little to no impact on how you play. They are truly fire-and-forget by simply improving stuff you're already going to be doing or casting. You don't have to tailor your spell usage or adjust when you cast this or that. Just keep doing what you always do and the bonuses will just be there, subtly improving a duration here or a spell cost there.
As a final thought, did anyone test to see whether or not disc priests get the two-piece bonus after using Divine Hymn? First person who has the answer gets a cookie.
Patch 4.3 resources for priests
Patch 4.3 is so massive that I don't think it's possible to cover all the content everyone could want in one post. Thus, in addition to my follow-ups and reminders, I've put together a small list of resources.
- Transmogrification: Vanilla and BC tier fashion for priests A guide to priest tier from vanilla and The Burning Crusade by Juvenate at WTS Heals.
- Spiritual Guidance: Priests, lies, and transmogrification My original post on transmogrification followed up Juvenate's post by featuring Wrath-era priest tier and some lesser-known PvP gear sets.
- Illustrated Cloth Transmogrification Guide: Priest, mage and warlock A visual transmogrification guide for cloth wearers by Liala at Disciplinary Action. This is an impressively comprehensive guide, worth a look if you care about transmogrification even a tiny bit.
- World of Wardrobe If you've somehow missed it, Anne Stickney writes a weekly column here on finding gear for transmogrification.
- Spiritual Guidance: Patch 4.3 raid gear for holy and discipline priests Last week's post on raid and valor gear in the upcoming patch. I've added a bunch of new stuff since last week, including a wand, cloak, some trinkets, and three tailoring items I was too tired to remember. I know, I'm such a degenerate.
- 4.3 loot priorities for healing priests Oestrus from The Stories of O analyzes potential upgrades in the next patch and gives a few recommendations. She includes something I completely missed in my own post, too, which is rewards from the new quests being added in 4.3. Worth a read for that alone.
- 4.3 Dragon Soul Guide for Discipline Priests Malevica from Type "H" For Heals wrote up a nice guide for disc priests healing Dragon Soul. She goes over each fight, as well as makes suggestions for specs and ability usage. (I will be writing my usual raid healing guides starting next week, so don't feel too neglected, holy priests.)
- L2R's Dragon Soul video guides A shameless plug for that other site I work at. All normal mode guides are done.
The calamity of the Mists of Pandaria talent calculator
As some of you may know, Blizzard published a preview of the class talent calculators for Mists of Pandaria last week. Many priests around the world were mortified by the preview, which seemed to indicate many core healing spells would become exclusive to certain specs. Renew and Binding Heal were listed as being holy-only, while shadow priests were stripped of almost all their healing spells. Prayer of Healing was completely absent.
Blizzard developers released a statement not long after the preview explaining that some spells were missing due to glitches, and in regards to everything else, the game was still in pre-alpha development. The developers stated they were largely looking for feedback on the changes and that nothing was set in stone.
For this reason, I'm not going to make any comment on the calculators just yet. Without knowing what was intentional and what wasn't, I think there would be too much speculation and not enough substance.
Spiritual Guidance has the inside line on pre-raid, valor point and raid gear for patch 4.3. Newcomer to the priest class? Look into leveling a healing priest, plus our guides to Discipline Priest 101 and Holy Priest 101.