Well, I don't know about you, but I'm starting to feel pretty pumped up after Monday's release of the information from Blizzard's Mists of Pandaria press event. Some of the new zones are very striking, the pandaren ladies are absolutely adorable, and monks get an ability called Shuffle, which means we'll have an expansion full of Party Rock Anthem jokes to look forward to. Priests didn't see anything new on Monday, but with all the information released about mistweavers and monk healing in general, I thought I might make some comparisons to get a better idea about what priest healing is going to look like in MoP.
Raid cooldowns: Meditation, Power Word: Barrier, and Divine Hymn
- Meditation Channeled, 3-minute cooldown. Reduces all damage taken by 99% and redirects to you all harmful spells cast against your allies within 30 yards. Lasts 10 seconds. Being the victim of a melee attack will break your Meditation, canceling the effect.
At first glance, the monk's raid cooldown ability seems massively overpowered. A 99% damage reduction? Really? Baseline ability? Seriously? At a second glance, however, you'll quickly notice that Meditation only seems to be effective for spell damage. Will it be like grounding totem and only work for single-target spells? Will it work on AoE spells too? It's too early to know, but for now, it doesn't seem too bad from a balance perspective. Woosaaah, everyone.
As a priest, what I find interesting about this ability is how fight-specific it stands to be. Spell damage reduction isn't necessarily going to be handy on every encounter, since obviously not all bosses use spells to attack. Because of this, I suspect Power Word: Barrier will still hold its reign as the all-purpose, go-to cooldown in progression raiding. Divine Hymn will still bring in the numbers, of course, though I don't see it sharing much synergy with Meditation. Power Word: Barrier only reduces 30% of incoming damage on the raid to all targets, which means Divine Hymn and Power Word: Barrier go together like a hot fudge brownie and ice cream. Meditation, on the other hand, won't leave much healing to be done on anyone other than the monk.
Static location healing: Jade Serpent Statue and Lightwell
- Summon Jade Serpent Statue Summons a Jade Serpent Statue at the target location. Lasts for 15 minutes. Limit 2 statues. Only two statues can be active or summoned within a combat session. Eminence (passive) when the monk deals damage, the summoned Jade Serpent Statues will heal the lowest health nearby target within 20 yards equal to 50% of the damage done. Serpent's Salve (on-click effect) allies can right-click on the statue to instantly be healed for 3,786. 10 charges.
I have to admit, I did not see this coming. Another Lightwell? Well, sort of. Jade Serpent Statue isn't exactly a Lightwell. When monks are in melee range and able to attack their target, they will utilize these statues to heal the lowest health target within 20 yards. (This is similar to the smart healing done by Atonement, which also prioritizes the target at lowest health within a slightly less generous range of 15 yards. Being able to control the location of the Jade Serpent Statues makes it superior to Atonement, though, in my opinion.) At any time the Jade Serpent Statue has charges, it is also clickable by players just as a Lightwell is. This may be ideal for when the boss is out of range and can't be hit by the monk; think of Blood-Queen Lana'thel's air phase, as an example. In such an instance, players could click the statue for additional healing.
It's hard to say whether the range to click these statues will be the same as Lightwell or not. The statues certainly last longer than a Lightwell, although because they have charges, monks may need to resummon them every time all the charges are completely consumed. You can also have two statues up at a time, as a perk. Overall, I don't think priests should mind this little jade homage to Lightwell. I doubt it will get used any more by players than Lightwell currently is, so if anything, we'll have another class that understands our pain. I can hear it now: "Click the statue!"
Mana restoration: Cherry Mana Tea and Hymn of Hope
- Cherry Mana Tea Channeled. Requires Serpent Stance. For each 3 chi you consume, you gain a charge of Mana Tea. Use Mana Tea to consume the charges. Each charge restores 5% of you maximum mana. Mana Tea must be channeled, lasting 1 second per stack. Mana Tea can stack up to 50 times. Canceling the channel will not waste stacks.
Ever since the priest talent and ability preview was released for MoP and Hymn of Hope became an ability exclusive to discipline priests, I wondered what was in store for mana regenerative abilities in the next expansion. Would monks be receiving something in line with Mana Tide Totem or Hymn of Hope? What were holy priests going to do about mana?
This monk ability appears to be the primary means for mistweavers to restore mana. Monks trade chi for Cherry Mana Tea, which they then trade for mana. The mechanic of the spell strikes me as a cross between Evocation and Innervate, but the important part to note is that it only returns mana to the monk himself.
This makes me quite curious about what kind of role Hymn of Hope will play in MoP. Will holy priests and other classes rely less on outside sources of mana regeneration, or will having a resto shaman or discipline priest be pivotal to managing mana-intensive fights? I'm inclined to go with the former, but who knows?
Damage to healing: Spinning Crane Kick and Atonement
- Spinning Crane Kick 1 chi, instant. Requires Serpent Stance, Ox Stance, Tiger Stance. You spin while kicking in the air, dealing 218 Physical damage every 1 second to all nearby enemies within 8 yards. Movement speed is reduced by 30%. Lasts 6 seconds.
- Teachings of the Monastery When you deal damage with Spinning Crane Kick while in Stance of the Wise Serpent, you heal nearby allies equal to 100% of the damage done.
When Blizzard first announced it'd be reworking Holy Nova for discipline AoE healing, I immediately wondered if the spell would tie into Atonement somehow. I thought since Holy Nova currently does both damage and healing, it might make sense to link our AoE healing and damage together in some way. How cool would that be, right?
Well, unfortunately, the hope for that idea started to diminish after the developers announced last week that discipline priests would be keeping Prayer of Healing as our primary AoE heal after all. At the time, they stated no additional plans were in store for Holy Nova, but I had hope. Now that I've seen the mistweaver's version of Spinning Crane Kick, however, I'm almost certain discipline won't be getting an AoE damaging ability that also heals. I figure it would just be too similar to the mechanic of Spinning Crane Kick to be implemented.
Next week on Spiritual Guidance
Next week, I'll draw up a few more comparisons between priests and monks based on the great wealth of information we received on Monday. Do you have any observations of your own? Let's hear them.
Personally, my biggest disappointment from all the news was still not knowing anything about our new healing talent, Divine Star. I was thinking the monk's talent and abilities preview would shed some light on how Divine Star might work in the next expansion, since class abilities are often mirrored in other classes with a tweak or two. In this case, however, either monks don't have anything like Divine Star, or the information on Divine Star (or monks) is too limited to draw a comparison right now. The whole thing makes me anxious as a priest, but with beta surely right around the corner, I'm sure we'll know more soon. Exciting times!
Come to Spiritual Guidance for the inside line on current healing gear and trinkets, as well as advice for healing in Dragon Soul. Newcomer to the priest class? Look into leveling a healing priest, and consult our guides to Discipline Priest 101 and Holy Priest 101.