Spiritual Guidance: Ongoing changes to priests on the patch 5.2 PTR


WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore is a discipline priest by reputation, but still enjoys melting faces as shadow and bugging her raid to click the Lightwell as holy.

There's been no shortage of priest changes in the development of patch 5.2. Since our last discussion, numerous adjustments and alterations have been made to our talents, spells, and glyphs. The most notable of changes is the continued redesign of Shadow Word: Insanity.

When the talent was first reworked for build 16467, it was designed to increase the damage of Mind Flay on targets afflicted with all three shadow priest DoTs (Devouring Plague, Vampiric Touch, and Shadow Word: Pain). The latest design being tested on the PTR simplifies that effect to this.

  • Your Devouring Plague increases the damage of Mind Flay by 33% per orb consumed.

Developers explained that the previous incarnation undermined the existing shadow rotation, since it eliminated the need to build up Shadow Orbs (after all, a single Shadow Orb is all you need to cast Devouring Plague on a target). The latest version also gives our rotation/spell priority better flexibility, since we wouldn't need to refresh any DoTs that might be falling off at the time we used Devouring Plague.

Golden Apparition really is a missile

Yesterday I got my first look at Golden Apparition, the four-piece bonus on healer tier 15, thanks to Matticus' help. It really is a missile, for those of you who were concerned it would have the same mechanical problems that Shadowy Apparitions have on live right now. Actually, it's so much like a missile it's quite hard to capture in a screen shot. Check it out.


It's quite fast, like an ethereal Golden Snitch or something. What do you think?

Also, while we're discussing graphical effects, what are your thoughts on the look of tier 15 in the header image? Personally, I'd like to petition the developers to add a use effect to the gear which allows priests to make a jingling sound while moving for 60 seconds or something. The sound files are even already in the game -- you might have heard them during the Feast of Winter Veil when you used Preserved Holly on your mount.

Blizzard striving for PvP balance

Much of the work being done from build to build on priests is an attempt to balance shadow priests in PvP. In our last discussion, Devouring Plague had been changed so that its total damage would be evenly distributed throughout its duration. The intent was to reduce shadow's burst damage, which would have been an unfortunate example of how PvP sometimes affects PvE (and vice versa).

Well, the good news is Blizzard has backtracked on that decision in favor of other nerfs. First, the very overpowered talent Phantasm had its most OP organ cut out. If you recall, using Phantasm on live servers right now allows the user to become untargetable by ranged attacks for 3 seconds. Blizzard decided this was too powerful (because it really is) and axed that portion of the talent. To soften the blow, the duration of the ability has been increased to 5 seconds.

PvP shadow priests also received a nerf to Dispersion. The spell has been added to the shadow school, meaning it will now become unusable when you suffer spell lock out.

Shadow priest healing was also hammered down. Base healing on Flash Heal, Binding Heal, Renew, and Prayer of Mending has been reduced by 20%. To ensure healing priests aren't negatively affected, discipline and holy priests will receive a new, passive healing ability at level 10 called Spiritual Healing. This passive will increase the healing of those spells by 25%.

Finally, a change to the Glyph of Mind Spike will affect PvE priests. The change will reduce shadow burst and damage (though the developers said they haven't yet tweaked shadow damage numerically so PvE isn't affected). The new change will make it so the Glyph of Mind Spike will only work when Mind Spike is non-instant. As you know, taking the talent From Darkness, Comes Light allows Vampiric Touch to proc instant cast Mind Spikes. Combining that talent with the glyph created a lovely harmony on live where two instant cast Mind Spikes would yield an instant cast Mind Blast. Well, that harmony is no more. I don't know about you, but I probably won't be taking Glyph of Mind Spike anymore.

Penance buffs, Divine Star nerfs

Penance has received a slight buff recently as well, presumably to show disc priests that there really is more to life than absorbs. The new alteration buffs the healing and damage of Penance, Holy Fire, and Smite by 4% for every stack of Evangelism you have active. Of course, using Archangel with five stacks of Evangelism grants you a larger, 25% healing bonus, so I think the intent here is to give disc priests a healing reward along the way to five stacks. If you only have time to get one cast of Smite off, your healing still benefits.

In the same build that Penance was buffed, Divine Star has also received a slight nerf. The range of the ability has been reduced again, this time from 6 yards to 4 yards. What do you think? Have you been using Divine Star more on live since it was buffed?

Spiritual Guidance is WoW Insider's source for priest information. For information on playing the class, check out our Mists of Pandaria guides for discipline, holy, and shadow. For getting geared up, check out our pre-raid gear guide.