Patch 3.1 PTR build 9637 Priest changes

Alex Ziebart
A. Ziebart|03.03.09

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Patch 3.1 PTR build 9637 Priest changes
As mentioned earlier today, a new build is being rolled out on the PTR this evening. The class changes contained within aren't as extensive as we first expected, but what Priests do have is pretty incredible... and somewhat expected, since we heard about a few of them before! There are a couple that are total news to us too, though. The PvP Shadow Priest is going to be very pleased with this patch. Let's take a look, shall we?

New Ability: Psychic Horror - You terrify the target, causing them to tremble in horror for 3 sec and drop all weapons for 10 sec. (Instant cast, 30 yard range, 1 minute cooldown.)

Um, yes please. This is going to be pretty incredible in PvP, especially the arena. Something like Psychic Horror is definitely a defense that the Shadow Priest needs. It's currently a 41 point talent in the Shadow tree, most certainly out of reach of Discipline or Holy. It's only a one point investment for Shadow Priests, so I fully expect this ability to make its way into a lot of PvE builds as well, at least pre-raiding. I could see myself using this quite thoroughly in 5-mans to take some heat off of the tank with the Disarm effect.

It should be noted that against an opponent with a Weapon Chain, that disarm effect is going to go down to 5 seconds. 10 second duration (5 second with a Weapon Chain) is pretty standard for disarming abilities. Dismantle, Disarm, and now Psychic Horror all have the same duration.

It should also be noted that it replaces the version of Psychic Horror that we have on Live realms, the 2 talent point investment that added a damage reduction to Psychic Scream. We trade away the Scream damage reduction for a second escape ability, and in my opinion that's a completely awesome trade. Saves me a talent point in a PvP build, too.

Vampiric Touch now causes 680 damage (at rank 5) when dispelled.

Hey, look! Debuff protection! It had to happen eventually, and I'm very glad they're finally starting to move in that direction. More than anything, this had to happen to make Shadow PvP viable. My only concern is the damage looks a little low, but we won't actually know that for sure until we know coefficients. This is something I'll be testing tonight once I can hit the PTR. If the coefficient is too low, this effect won't even be a concern to classes that can dispel. It needs to be decently high to actually be protection. I don't expect the dispel proc to be as powerful as what Warlocks have on Unstable Affliction, but it needs to be dangerous enough to be a concern.

The simple fact that this change is here means they vaguely know what we need now, which is a good sign. Hopefully this is something that makes it to live realms. Keep in mind that there's a chance it won't make it to live realms. This is the PTR. Not to be a downer, but the key thing when you're in a beta or on a test realm is cautious optimism. This change hitting live realms would be fantastic... but it might not. Keep it in mind, that's all.

Shadow Affinity now gives the priest 5% of his base mana when his Shadow Word: Pain or Vampiric Touch spells are dispelled.

This isn't quite debuff protection exactly, but it's going to help. Our DoTs are pretty expensive nowadays. It's not such a problem in raids because Mind Flay refreshes Shadow Word: Pain, but those mana costs are painful in PvP. Shadowfiend isn't particularly reliable in PvP, and we'll be using Dispersion as a defense, not as mana regen. Mana is pretty harsh for the Shadow Priest in PvP!

We can't keep reapplying our DoTs constantly if someone is on the ball dispelling them. If the Vampiric Touch change above isn't a sufficient deterrent, this will help a lot. If Vampiric Touch's dispel proc coefficient is low, these two things combined might still put the Shadow Priests in a much better place in PvP, but only time will tell. I think it's important to note that this would regenerate 5% of the Priest's base mana and not max mana. Vampiric Touch costs 16% of base mana, and Shadow Word: Pain costs 22% of base mana. 5% is somewhere around 1/3 or 1/4th of the cost of the spell. If a Paladin is on the ball with his Cleanse key, this actually might not be a very significant amount of help at all. It's something which is a good sign, but I suspect the numbers are too low if Vampiric Touch isn't a dispel deterrent.

Edit: I am a buffoon and forgot that this is a three point talent, so this would be 5% per rank. That sounds much, much better to me.

It's going to take a lot of number crunching and arena practice to know just how much these changes are going to help us, but they will help, that's for sure. It will help. How much it will help or if it will be enough is what we'll find out later on. Time will tell.

Hymn of Hope has been re-added to the game.

It was missing from the PTR up until now. It's back again. Yay, I guess?
Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.
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