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Spiritual Guidance: Mana nerfs and Priest buffs

Matt Low

Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. Spirit nerf's are coming! Is it really doom and gloom for the Priest class?

Eliah did a terrific job summarizing the mana regeneration changes that are slated to strike in 3.1. The general feeling I'm seeing right now among the Priest community appears to range from the "OH NO! NO MORE MANA" to the "Eh, guess I better load up on Mana Pots since they're cheap".

On a side note, when is the last time you had to pot in a raid? And I don't mean from immediately being revived in the middle of a fight. I distinctly remember running out of juice on Kel'Thuzad a month or so ago.

In any case, there are some rumblings abound as to what sort of impact this nerf would have to our playstyle. The better question to ask is what impact this nerf would have to our gearing, gemming, and enchanting choices.

The underlying point that seems to jump out at everyone is that Spirit regen is being decreased.

Let's see what this implies for the Discipline and Holy trees respectively.

The Discipline Priest

While the Spirit changes affect our ability to regenerate mana outside of the 5 second rule of doom, luckily the Disc breed of Priests don't have to worry about that. Most of our mana return occurs while we're casting anyway. It's not very often we're stuck having nothing to do.

If anything, we're getting a slight buff to our while-casting regen. The gems I'm using right now are a combination of spellpower, intellect and crit gems. I've got nothing in there that involves mana per 5 or spirit. Why? Simply because my mana isn't being taxed.

I'm foreseeing the next tier of raids to contain fights that are going to be a test of our endurance. I've got a supply of MP5 and intellect gems on standby just in case I need to switch over to them.

The Holy Priest

Expect a heavier reliance on potion and Shadowfiend use. A couple of Priests and I were discussing the value of spirit. Some of them were wondering whether they should eject the spirit gems (Sparkling Sky Sapphire) and plug in some variance of mana per 5 gems (Lustrous Sky Sapphire).

I'm going to suggest holding off on that for now.

The reason being is that spirit still isn't completely useless for Holy Priests. They still contribute spellpower. The textbook method of regenerating mana is to do the dance between casting and not casting. If anything, this presents a stronger argument to keep maintaining a high amount of spirit.

Fights from here on out are only going to become more difficult.

How will they test us?

Endurance: Are we going to see a return of the 20 minute boss fight? We might! Be prepared to stretch out that mana pool as much as possible.

Complexity: Healing the Kael'Thas encounter in The Eye was one of the most complex fights I've participated in. Multiple stages meant that every possible tank had to be covered. That means knowing which healer is healing who at what time. Those assignments changed from phase to phase. I might've healed the raid in the first 2 phases before taking over the main tank after that.

Shift healing: I remember back in the days of Blackwing Lair where Priests would take turns healing a tank (Memories of Chromaggus). I hope Blizzard doesn't bring that back. But with the spirit nerfs to Priests and Druids as well as the Divine Plea change, more communication will be needed among healers. Who's regenerating? Who were they healing? Being able to switch to and from raid healing to tank healing is going to be important.

One thing's for sure. 3.1's going to be one heck of a patch for us. I can't remember the last real patch where we've been extensively overhauled (excluding the 3.0 ones).

Further reading

Got any ideas, question, comments or suggestions for (or Raid Rx)? Send a Direct Message or reply on Twitter to @wowinsider.
Want to find more great tips for carrying out your Priestly duties? Spiritual Guidance has you covered with all there is to know! And don't forget to check out our other Leveling Guides as well as our Wrath Guides and Galleries!

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