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Priests and our discontents

Eliah Hecht

I think it's safe to say that a lot of priests are less than happy with 2.0.1. The official forums are fairly chock-full with players saying they've cancelled their accounts, druids claiming that they're the new best healers (and not a few priests agreeing), and the perennial claims of PvP imbalance. Discontent in the forums is of course nothing new, but it does seem that more people than usual are dissatisfied.

From the point of view of this raiding holy priest, there are a few reasons for this (after the jump):

  1. The add-on nerf. Utilities that many priests considered essential, like Decursive and CTRA's emergency monitor, will almost certainly never work like they used to again. On the other hand, I know a few priests who welcome this change, since they don't want to be so reliant on add-ons anyway. My own take is that decursing is going to be a bit more of a chore now, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. Until then, though, I fear Sulferon much more than I used to.
  2. The downranking nerf. Spells that were trained at earlier levels receive much less of your +healing now, to the point where Heal 4 doesn't become very mana-efficient until you have something like 1000 +healing (I can post the math if anyone's interested). I may be overreacting, but this seems to force us into the "big heals when you can, flash heals when necessary" strategy, without giving us a viable medium heal. Greater Heal 5 (which is now trainable, yay!) heals for over 2,000 on average, without counting any +heal that you may have. In my eyes, that's simply too big for a bread-and-butter heal.
  3. Lackluster talents. I'm of two minds about this point: on the one hand, when the priest BC talents were first announced, there was much rejoicing; but now, folks are saying that our talents prove that Blizzard hates priests. I agree that none of the 41-point talents are all that; but on the other hand, Improved Divine Spirit, Holy Concentration, and Surge of Light are pretty attractive, as well as the change to Spirit of Redemption (the talent now includes a passive 5% boost to your total Spirit). We didn't get a tree form or anything like that, but that makes me more happy for druids than sad for priests (in fact, I rolled a new druid last night instead of logging in to my priest main and respeccing, simply because I really want tree form).

Now you might point out that the first two points apply equally to all healing classes, and this is probably true (I've never gotten another healing class past 40, so I'm not sure personally). However, I think priests were more addicted to our downranking and our add-ons than the other healing classes. And it's hard to argue that our 41-point Holy and Discipline talents stack up to other classes' 41-point healing talents.

As a final point, the new animation for Holy Fire is pretty strange -- the casting animation is the same as Resurrection, and when the spell hits it looks like a holy-colored version of Warlocks' Searing Pain -- but I hear this was changed back to the old animation on the BC beta realms a month ago, so I expect we'll get the same treatment on the live realms before long.

So what do you guys think? Are you retiring your priests, or is this just a speed bump and I should lern2play? Are any of you still happy with the priest talents? And what do all you shadow priests think of things in WoW 2?

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