|General Priesty Stuff|
As 5.2 rapidly approaches, I thought I’d take a moment or two to summarise the changes for each class, starting out with Priests.
I’ve fallen quite behind on my spreadsheet-updating schedule, thanks to the urgency of PTR raid testing and also finishing out tier 14 content, so it will be a few days before I can update my spreadsheets and the more comprehensive content on the Priest Changes page. Until then, I hope you’ll all be able to make do with this brief overview! General Priesty Stuff
Focused Will now belongs to both Holy and Discipline Priests, baseline. This should improve Holy’s survivability. It will now reduce damage taken by 15% for its duration, and this effect stacks up to 2 times.
The Glyph of Desperation has been made a baseline effect; Pain Suppression and Guardian Spirit can now be cast while you are stunned without having to Glyph for that functionality. Yay!
Holy Fire has been made an instant spell*.
The state of Discipline Priests in patch 5.1 has been widely derided as “broken”, due to the strength of its absorbs (both in Spirit Shell and in 25-player content where many high-end Discipline Priests were healing through Prayer of Healing/Divine Aegis spam), the interaction between Rapture and temporary Spirit buffs such as trinket procs and Mana Tide Totem, and the synergy between the 1-minute-CD Spirit Shell and a number of boss mechanics. Frankly, it’s true – I said it when the patch hit – Discipline Priests were over-buffed.
To remedy this mistake, Discipline Priests have been given a massive mechanics overhaul. Bear with me, Priests, this is going to take a while to get through!
Shield Discipline – the Discipline Priest Mastery effect – has been redesigned. Shield Discipline still increases “all” absorption spells by X%, X being the percentage on your character sheet. However, it also increases all healing spells by (X/2)%. The scaling of Mastery has also been changed slightly; you now start with a passive 12.8% Mastery (so 12.8% stronger shields, and 6.4% stronger healing), and gain additional Mastery percentages for every 375 Mastery Rating you acquire on your gear.
You’ll note I put scare quotes around “all” in ‘”all” absorption spells’. That’s because Shield Discipline no longer directly affects your most absorby absorption ability, Spirit Shell. But I’ll get to that more a bit later!
Divine Aegis has been significantly reworked. Prayer of Healing no longer always benefits from Divine Aegis. The ability now prevents your Critical heals from healing for double the amount of a normal heal. Instead, your Critical heals will heal for their usual amount, and then apply a Divine Aegis shield for 100% of the amount healed. This can be a bit confusing, so I’ll just kind of step you through how your Mastery will affect your healing and your Critical heals
Let’s say you have a spell, let’s call it Hypothetical Heal, whose (base healing + spellpower coefficient * your spell power) would equal 1000 healing. Let’s say you also have another spell, Spurious Smite, whose (base damage + spellpower coefficient * your spell power) would equal 1000 damage. You also have no Mastery on your gear, so you are working with the base 12.8% Mastery.
In the old, 5.1 system, a non-crit Hypothetical Heal would have healed for 1000, and when you got a Critical Hypothetical Heal, it would have healed for 2000 and applied a Divine Aegis of 2000*(0.5*(1+0.2))= 1200. This would be a total of 3200 healing+absorbs.
In the new, 5.2 regime, a normal cast of Hypothetical Heal would heal for 1000*(1+(Mastery/2)) = 1000*(1+(0.128/2)) = 1000*(1+0.064) = 1064 healing.
A Hypothetical Heal Critical would heal for 1064 healing, but also apply a Divine Aegis shield for (1+Mastery)*1064. This would work out to a Divine Aegis shield of 1.128*1064 = 1200, and a total of 2264 healing+absorbs.
The same basic thing happens to Atonement healing. Under the 5.1 regime, a non-Critical Spurious Smite would have damaged the enemy for 1000 and generated 1000 in Atonement healing; a Critical Spurious Smite would have damaged the enemy for 2000, generated 2000 in Atonement healing, and applied a 1200 Divine Aegis shield to that target.
In 5.2, a non-Critical Spurious Smite will deal 1000 damage to the enemy and generate 1064 in Atonement healing. A Critical Spurious Smite will deal 2000 damage to the enemy, generate 1064 in Atonement healing, and apply a Divine Aegis shield to that target for 1200 absorption**.
This is undeniably a nerf. Not only will we be generating Divine Aegis less frequently than we did in 5.1, since Prayer of Healing no longer automatically grants it and we must rely on Critical heals entirely for its generation, we also don’t get the benefit of additional healing from our Critical heals! We’re unlikely to be able to roll Divine Aegis in order to assist us with damaging raid mechanics outside of Spirit Shell. And our Divine Aegis shields did not even get buffed, meaning we are not even compensating for rarer Divine Aegis procs with larger Divine Aegis procs.
The new Mastery works out to a (Mastery/2)% buff to all your healing effects, but a *beats head on desk and can’t come up with a simple equation* nerf to your Critical healing throughput.
In light of these changes, how will Critical Strike and Mastery affect your average healing throughput (outside of Spirit Shell)? Sounds like a job for 3-D Graphs! (-aphs -aphs -aphs -aphs)
No real surprises here. Critical Strike Chance and Mastery feed off each other, and the more you have of one, the better the other gets. Critical Strike does scale a little faster than Mastery does, especially at the lower ends of gear, so I suspect many Priests will focus on Critical Strike.
This is especially so since Critical Strike Chance now applies to Power Word: Shield! Yes, that’s right – you have a chance equal to your Critical Strike Chance for your Power Word: Shield*** to absorb twice its normal amount. Don’t be too concerned about your Rapture – so long as you choose your targets wisely, it should be pretty simple for Power Word: Shield to be broken even if it “crits”.
Speaking of Rapture, the new Rapture effect passively reduces the cost of Power Word: Shield by 25%, and causes a fully depleted PW:S to refund mana equal to 150% of your Spirit. These changes mean that your new Rapture mana-positive Spirit “breakpoint” (forgive me, theorycrafters, for using that word in such a dirty way!) is back to 9150 Spirit. This also means that, even without Rapture procs, Power Word: Shield becomes a little more spammable. While I don’t anticipate a return of Wrath-style PW:S Whack-a-Mole, we should feel a little less restrained from using our PW:S to help compensate for our lack of Divine Aegis.
Okay, and now to Spirit Shell! The new Spirit Shell calculation no longer scales directly with Mastery. Instead, it will create an absorption shield equal to the average throughput of the spell you’ve used to cast it. In other words, Spirit Shell is no longer clearly a throughput-increasing cooldown. That’s over-simplifying it a bit, because absorption is far less likely to be wasted than actual healing – Spirit Shell will basically make your spells slightly more efficient simply because they are less likely to overheal, assuming of course that you use Spirit Shell at an appropriate time.
If you are curious, the new Spirit Shell formula is (1 + Crit*(1 + Mastery))* the tooltip healing value for the spell you use it with.
Penance has been buffed somewhat, given a 40-yard range for both offensive and defensive uses, and now its healing will benefit from Evangelism. This means that, unless you really do not need all three of Penance’s bursts on the same target, Penance is better throughput as a defensive spell (cast on a friendly target) than as an offensive spell (cast on an enemy). Unless, of course, you already have 3 stacks of Grace on everyone that offensive Penance’s Atonement will heal! But that is unlikely to occur.
Using Inner Focus will automatically grant 5 seconds of Silence, interrupt, and dispel protection. The Glyph of Inner Focus has been removed.
And now for the disclaimers:
* On the PTR as of this writing (a few hours before 5.2 is set to go live!), Holy Fire’s mana cost is still not reduced by Inner Will. This seems like a bug.
** On the PTR as of this writing (a few hours before 5.2 is set to go live!), Atonement Critical healing is bugged and dealing only 75% of the healing – and Divine Aegis absorption – that it is supposed to. Let us hope this does not go live. If it does, it will massively devalue Critical Strike Chance for Priests who use Atonement. Otherwise, as the lovely Morenn told me, Disc Priests will be crossing their fingers and closing their eyes and whispering “pleasedon’tcritpleasedon’tcrit” every time they cast an offensive spell
*** On the PTR as of this writing (a few hours before 5.2 is set to go live!), Power Word: Shield is creating shields at 80% of the size the tooltip indicates they should be. Whether this is a bug or a stealth nerf to Power Word: Shield remains to be seen.
Sorry, Holy Priests, there are no specific changes for your spec, other than the Glyph of Desperation effect being rolled in to Guardian Spirit.
The Power Word: Solace Talent has been revamped a bit. Taking this Talent, now named Solace and Insanity, replaces Holy Fire with Power Word: Solace.
Power Word: Solace has a 10-second cooldown (so, 6 uses per minute) and has no mana cost. Each cast restores 1% of your mana, deals damage equal to what Holy Fire would have done, and also heals the lowest-health player within 40 yards for 100% of its damage (50% if it heals the casting Priest).
As a result, if we assume that Power Word: Solace replaces 6 casts per minute of Holy Fire at 5 stacks of Evangelism – so a worst-case scenario, mana-regen-wise – this new Talent provides 40,680 mana per minute, or 3,390 mp5. This is above and beyond what you will get from Shadowfiend. By comparison, Mindbender provides only 21,213 mana per minute, or 1,768 mp5, over Shadowfiend. While FD:CL can still provide superior mana savings with its free Flash Heals, that assumes that every FD:CL proc will be used and effective and replace a Flash Heal that you would have had to cast without the proc. That is an unrealistic assumption, so it is very likely that Solace will come out ahead of FD:CL in realistic scenarios.
This also gives Holy Priests access to an Atonement-style healing spell. Actually, Power Word: Solace is kind of interesting for Holy Priests. Its healing is not buffed by Sanctuary or Serenity Chakras, and it does not refresh Renew’s duration on its target. However, it is buffed by the Chastise Chakra. The mana regen is much lower for a Holy Priest using Power Word: Solace in Chastise Chakra though – only 20,268 mana per minute, or 1,689 mp5, bringing it below Mindbender.
However, this could be an interesting talent for those Holy Priests who play “swing healers” within an encounter – providing single-target DPS via Chastise during healing downtime, and switching gears to Sanctuary Chakra + healing CDs during periods of heavy raid damage. With Power Word: Solace, at least some of your damage during your Chastise phases would help out with the healing. I don’t think this is a particularly compelling choice for Holy Chastise Priests, but it could be more fun or interesting, at least. Several other Talents have received minor modifications:
- Psyfiend will no longer cast Psychic Horror on a target already affected by it;
- Dominate Mind now has a 1.8-second cast time, down from 2.5 seconds;
- Angelic Feather’s speed boost now lasts 6 seconds, up from 4 seconds;
- Phantasm no longer makes you immune to ranged attacks, but grants immunity from movement-impairing effects for its duration;
- Power Infusion now additionally increases the Priest’s damage by 5%; and
- Halo will no longer affect enemies in Stealth.
The following glyphs have been removed as their effects are now baseline:
- Glyph of Desperation
- Glyph of Inner Focus
Glyph of Holy Fire now increases the range on Holy Fire, Smite, and Power Word: Solace by 10 yards, making the entire Atonement toolkit a 40-yard range. Yay! Two new Glyphs have been added:
- Glyph of Binding Heal increases the mana cost of Binding Heal by 35%, but allows it to heal a third nearby target. This is not a smart heal.
- Glyph of Weakened Soul reduces the duration of Weakened Soul by 2 seconds.