Holy priest PvP
Holy priests haven't really had the most fun in PvP these past years and it doesn't get much better in Cataclysm
. Still, I find it most curious that the specialization ability that Blizzard gave to holy priests is a great PvP spell. Holy Word: Chastise
is an instant cast, ranged spell that disorients its target for 3 seconds. It's a low-damage spell, but the disorient effect lends itself very well to PvP. It also transforms depending on your chakra state. Say what? Holy actually got a pretty cool mechanic that take a bit of getting used to. We'll take a look at that in a bit along with other nice things that holy got for PvP. It's important to point out that the holy tree will look quite different in Cataclysm
, with some talents changing in the beta. This could indicate that the developers aren't quite set on what they want to do with the spec, so take everything with a little grain of salt.
- Divine Fury - Boring but necessary. Because faster is better in PvP, you'll need to invest in this talent which reduces the casting time of essential spells by .5 seconds.
- Desperate Prayer - An instant cast self-heal seems out of place and redundant as a talent for a healing spec, but there it is. The notable thing about Desperate Prayer is that it's free. This was supposed to be augmented by another talent called Binding Prayers, but that's nowhere to be seen right now. It's still a decent investment for 1 point and works well as a clutch spell in tight situations, especially since there'll little else in the tree to be excited about.
- Improved Renew, Divine Touch, and Rapid Renewal (Cataclysm) - Improved Renew is a basic spell improvement on Renew, a spell you'll be casting a lot in mobile PvP fights. Divine Touch is the important talent that makes Renew tick as an instant heal, even if only for 10 percent of the Renew, giving your spells more bang for the buck. Rapid Renewal falls in line with the faster is better philosophy as it cuts down Renew's GCD down to 1 second, allowing for more Renew spammage. If Rapid Renewal actually makes it live, pick it up.
- Holy Concentration, Chakra, Revelations, and State of Mind - Holy Concentration is your basic in-combat mana regeneration picked up mostly because it leads to the cooler talents. Chakra is the one talent that got holy priests all excited for Cataclysm because of its cool lore and exciting mechanics. Basically, you activate Chakra and cast a spell which will enhance your abilities for a specialized role, mostly different types of healing -- better nuke heals, better HoTs, and better AoE heals. In Cataclysm, Chakra's cooldown will drop to 30 seconds, making it easier to switch between states. Another effect that can be obtained when activating Chakra is a moderate increase to holy and shadow damage if you're so inclined. Even more interesting is Revelations, which transforms Holy Word: Chastise into an entirely different spell depending on your Chakra state. For single target nuke heals on low-health targets, there's Holy Word: Serenity; for better healing over time, there's Holy Word: Aspire; and for AoE, there's Holy Word: Sanctuary which you drop at an area. State of Mind simply ensures that you'll always have a Chakra up. If you're a holy priest and you aren't in a chakra state, you're doing it wrong. This is about as fun as the holy tree gets, sadly, and it's not even particularly awesome for PvP.
- Tome of Light - Because you'll like cooldown reductions in PvP, you should pick this up. Especially since you'll always be in a chakra state and using a holy word spell as often as you can.
- Spirit of Redemption - You might get some flak and chuckles whenever you pop into this form, but let's face it ... you'll die in PvP. A lot. In the battlegrounds, you'll get a free rez, but the option to stick around and heal with impunity is an important one. Sticking around to heal some more after your opponents think they've killed you off can mean the difference between capturing that flag or losing it. If you think you'll be dead quite a lot in the battlegrounds, consider glyphing with Glyph of Spirit of Redemption (major) -- that's 21 seconds of free, uninterruptible healing.
- Body and Soul - Finally, a true PvP talent we can actually discuss. Body and Soul grants your Power Word: Shield targets a 60 percent speed boost for 4 seconds. That's crazy awesome. This means you increase your group's survivability and combat potency significantly -- by choosing the right targets, you can use Power Word: Shield as a defensive measure or part of offense. You can boost your teammates' speed when chasing a flag carrier or running away as one. There's also the added bonus of being able to dispel poisons with Cure Disease. It probably won't be as useful as you think when a rogue has you stun-locked, but the ability to dispel more debuff types is a premium in PvP. In Cataclysm, this ability also boosts the speed of your Life Grip targets, which, needless to say, is very cool.
- Blessed Resilience - This is the holy priest's version of Focused Will and suffers from the same drawback -- it will only proc if you actually take damage totalling 10 percent of your health or more. It's actually worse because it doesn't proc any mitigation, which you'll need more in PvP, but bonus to heals received. On the battlefield, that often means heals you'll be casting on yourself. If you take damage that huge, that means someone is bearing down on you, which means you're less likely to be casting those big nuke heals on yourself. Thank goodness for chakras and Holy Word: Aspire, then, right?
- Test of Faith - Three points for a passive boost to healing on targets below 50 percent health. Sounds expensive but if you think about it, you'll have plenty of targets below 50 percent health in the battlegrounds or arenas, even if the new environment is all about higher health pools.
The bottom line? Holy PvP still
sucks compared to discipline. There just aren't enough talents in the tree to truly support a PvP-oriented playstyle. Most of it is generic increases to heals, a little more flexibility thanks to chakras, and a few token talents such as Body and Soul. For now, holy remains such a highly PvE-centric spec that it seems almost counterproductive to invest in Body and Soul. You're almost better off just playing the battlegrounds in your PvE healing spec ... the change will be hardly palpable. The tree still feels like a work in progress, so I wouldn't rule out some interesting talents to keep holy competitive in PvP.