Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Feel the Love?

Eyonix gave us a bit of a preview of upcoming Priest, Rogue and Shaman changes in Patch 3.1. Although my Rogue was my first toon, she's sitting in Borean Tundra at level 70.6, so the Rogue changes don't really matter to me too much at this point. The proposed Priest and Shaman changes, however, make me cautiously optimistic.

Shaman Changes
Most of the Shaman changes (listed in full below) are for Enhancement or Elemental Shamans. The main change for we healy types is in the continued streamlining of totems. No longer will we have to choose between a Mana Spring or Healing Stream Totem; they will be combined. This is a small but awesome change for us. There are times that the steady stream of heals would be useful, but I just can't bring myself to use Healing Stream when my party (or sometimes, just me) is begging for mana. Less exciting, but still cool is the introduction of a combined Poison and Disease Cleansing Totem. In certain areas of Naxxramus this will rock. We will just have to see if there are more fights in future instances that require simultaneous cleansing of poisons and diseases. Now if they'd only give us a Virus Obliterating Totem so I could cure Sromkie of his cold, I'd be a very happy camper.

Priest Changes
The Priest changes are more exciting and should make our holier than thou friends very happy. Mase's main complaint about the Circle of Healing nerf was that Blizzard didn't give Priests anything in trade. Priests are my favorite healers because of their versatility, but that versatility makes many of them grumpy because they aren't the best at any one thing. The proposed changes give them more toys to play with and some additional AOE healing tricks. Prayer of Healing won't be confined to the Priest's own group anymore, so they will be able to cast it on any group in the raid. (Ladyspam will finally be able to heal someone who isn't in her group!)

The coolest sounding new spell is Power Word: Barrier, a Discipline only spell that will bubble the Priest's group. We'll have to see if this raid wide as well and how exactly it works, but I like the sound of it. It may end up moving Discipline Priests back into the tank or melee group.

It also looks like Blizzard is moving forward with their plans to make healers have to think about a spell rotation--at least in a small sense. Riptide followed by a Chain Heal results in a huge heal on the target, so Resto Shamans should be somewhat familiar with this already. Now our Priestly friends may get a taste with the changes to Serendipity, however, it looks like this talent will only reduce the cast time of Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing without increasing the amount healed, but it still seems like a step towards a spell rotation for Holy Priests.

Overall, I'm happy about the changes, and even more excited to see what else they have in store for us in 3.1. I know the details of the class changes will likely change many times before the patch hits, but it's nice to know what the develpers are thinking about. I just hope that 3.1 comes out soon.

  • Divine Spirit – this spell is now a core ability available to all priests.
  • Discipline has access to a new talent, Power Word: Barrier. (Think of it as Power Word: Shield for your whole group).
  • Several area of effect (AOE) heal spells have been improved: Prayer of Healing can be cast on any groups in your raid party. Holy Nova’s mana cost has been reduced. Circle of Healing now heals for more.
  • Shadow priest PvP survivability has been improved: Shadow Form now reduces magic as well as physical damage. Dispersion now removes snares.
  • Penance – this spell can now be targeted on the priest.
  • Serendipity – this talent now reduces the cast time of Greater Heal and Prayer of Healing when Binding Heal or Flash Heal are cast.
  • We are also working to give Holy additional PvP utility.

  • Hunger for Blood – instead of a self-buff, this ability can only be used when there is a bleed effect on the target. However, it has no stacks and grants a 15% damage bonus.
  • Adrenaline Rush – the cooldown on this ability has been lowered.
  • Lightning Reflexes – reduced to 3 ranks. In addition to 2/4/6% dodge, this talent now also grants 4/7/10% passive melee haste.
  • Killing Spree – while this ability is active, the rogue does 20% additional damage.
  • Savage Combat – now causes 2/4% physical damage done.
  • Mace Specialization – this talent now grants haste in addition to armor penetration.

  • Chain Lightning – now jumps to 4 targets but does less damage. We wanted to make the distinction between Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning more clear.
  • Storm, Earth and Fire – this talent now increases all damage done by Flame Shock, not just periodic damage.
  • Spirit Weapons – now reduces all threat, not just melee threat.
  • Unleashed Rage – reduced to 2 ranks, now also increases your critical strike chance with melee attacks by 1/2%.
  • Totem streamlining: The Mana Spring and Healing Stream Totems have been combined. The Disease Cleansing and Poison Cleansing Totems have been combined.
  • We are also working on giving Enhancement and Elemental more PvP utility.

    1. Four target Chainlightning! WOOHOO ..... oh wait... that's stupid and pointless .....

    2. I hope there will be more info about shaman mana regen plans. They address spirit mana regen and paladin regen but shamans, not so much. And in encounters like Sarth3D I feel like I'm really a bit behind the other healing classes in point of mana regeneration.