20 July 2008

Wrath beta: you win some, you loose some

Ok, so I've had a couple of days to chew over the beta notes. In that time I've also managed to travel half way round the world and now sit by a pool in Key West with a cocktail by my side and the sound of insects in the background. This puts things into perspective. No beta key, no guild, no cares. I will work these things out eventually (long after my tan has faded and my liver recovered). Thanks also for the messages of support after my last post, they cheered me up no end.

Anyhoo, let's get on with the show. You've all read this by now I'm sure but here are the patch notes for priests.

  • Circle of Healing (Holy): Now works on any targets in the caster's raid, and is now a "smart" heal and chooses the lowest health targets to heal first within it's range. Also now has a 6 second cooldown. Also no longer will heal summoned Snakes from Hunter's Snake Trap.
  • Enlightenment (Discipline): Now also gives 1% spell damage and 1% heal per point.
  • Focused Will (Discipline): Now increases healing effects on you by 3/4/5%, down from 4/7/10%.
  • Force of Will (Discipline): This talent now increases your spell damage by a flat amount, rather than increasing your spells by a %. (Now increases school %, rather than selected spells damage %). In other words, your spell damage gained from this talent is now reflected on your character sheet, rather than the skill tool-tips.
  • Holy Fire: Cast time reduced to to 2 seconds, down from 3.5. Damage increased roughly 60%. Duration for the damage over time effect reduced to 7 seconds, down from 10. Holy Fire now has a 10 second cooldown.
  • Improved Inner Fire (Discipline) - Now also increases the bonus healing on your Inner Fire spell by 10/20/30%.
  • Improved Shadow Word: Pain (Shadow) - Now increases damage done by your Shadow Word: Pain by 5/10%, but no longer increases the duration of your Shadow Word: Pain.
  • Levitate now costs 3% of base mana.
  • Lightwell (Holy): Cast time reduced to .5 sec, down from 1.5 sec. Charges increased to 10, up from 5. Now breaks from any attack that hits you for 30% or more of your total health. Cooldown reduced to 3 minutes, down from 5.
  • Mind Control now has only one rank and costs 12% of base mana.
  • Mind Soothe now has only one rank, costs 6% of base mana and has no max target level.
  • Mind Vision now costs 3% of base mana.
  • New Talent: Improved Spirit Tap (Shadow) - Gives you a 50/100% chance to gain a 50% bonus to your Spirit after gaining a critical effect chance from your Mind Blast or
  • Shadow Word: Death spells. For the duration, your mana will regenreate at a 25% rate while casting. Lasts 8 sec.
  • New Talent: Twin Faiths (Discipline) - Increases your damage and healing by 1/2/3/4/5%.
  • Pain Suppression (Discipline): Cooldown increased to 3 minutes, up from 2.
  • Power Infusion (Discipline): Cooldown reduced to 2 minutes, down from 3.
  • Psychic Scream now costs 15% of base mana.
  • Searing Light (Holy): Now also increases the damage of your Holy Nova and Penance spells.
  • Shackle Undead now costs 9% of base mana.
  • Shadow Focus (Shadow): Now a 3 point talent, down from 5. Now also reduces the mana cost of your Shadow spells by 2/4/6%.
  • Shadow Resilience (Shadow): Now reduces physical damage taken by 2/4%, but no longer reduces the chance to be critically hit by spells.
  • Shadowform (Shadow): Now has an innate 30% threat reduction. Now has a shapeshift UI.
  • Silent Resolve (Discipline): Now a 3 point talent, down from 5 points.
  • Spirit Tap (Shadow) - Talent reduced to 3 points, down from 5. Now also leads into "Improved Spirit Tap"
  • Wand Specialization (Discipline) has been removed.

Some of this you will already recognise from the alpha leaks. Not everything from the alpha notes is here but that's not so say it won't still be implicated. None of these notes, I think I'm right in saying, include the new post-70 talents, only new and reworked talents within the existing talent trees.

The most interesting thing for me, which I've commented on before, is the increasing utility Blizzard is placing on spirit as a stat. We see improved spirit tap, which will buff spirit and mana regeneration on the back of crits, and there is a hint of a talent yet to come which will buff spell damage by a percentage of spirit. The benefit will very much depend on gear of course: both crit and spirit matter more when your longevity depends on them. But these notes also include official confirmation of the new spellpower mechanic and the general homogenisation of caster gear for both healers and dps. Once again, shadow priests will have access to spirit on dps gear, buffing both our out-of-combat mana regeneration and our in-combat regeneration. You know those mind-boggling mp5 figures our holy brethren achieve? They could be ours too.

The other pleasant surprise comes with shadowform and the innate 30% threat reduction, which as Ho Ho pointed out in the last post, could easily negate the loss of blessing of salvation. If it works out that way. But that's only if we retain shadow affinity, our existing threat reduction talent. There's nothing in the post about it, but will Blizzard really allow us such massive threat reduction? Possibly. Or possibly it won't matter. In the shaman notes, alongside the message that tranquil air totem is being removed, Blizzard hinted at a general realignment of threat in game: "Threat is being addressed by modifications to the base threat of players and/or 'baked' into tanking abilities." Only time will tell.

The expected nerf to shadow word: pain was confirmed, the improved talent now increasing damage by 10% rather than two ticks (a drop of about 15%). And we can probably confer from the notes that we are loosing a hefty chunk of spell hit with the changes to shadow focus - even though the note itself is frustrating vague. Yes it's down from five points to three, but that could mean anything! Does it mean the actual hit is unchanged? Does it mean each point still grants 2% spell hit? Or does it mean the total spell hit provided is, like the alpha notes showed, now only 3%? They really ought to be more specific.

The only other surprise for me was was the change to the first tier of disciple. We are loosing wand specialisation, to be replaced by a flat 5% (at max rank) increase to spell damage and healing via twin faiths. This is good change to raiders of all specs, who had to pick up poor talents to get the meatier stuff further down the tree. But I can't help but feel a little sad. The days of my 700 wand crits are coming to an end.

Well, that's all for now I think. The most interesting things have yet to come. Let me know what you make of the talents anyway. And if you have a beta key, drop me a line.


Dral said...

"now sit by a pool in Key West with a cocktail by my side and the sound of insects in the background."

I hate you with the passion of a thousand suns =)

Merlot said...

Haha, I finally provoked you into commenting!

grayhammer said...

Check out the wowhead WotLK talent calculators. Fun stuff!

Puzzled by the new advanced psychic scream talent. Something like "make your target flee in horror for 4 seconds" huh?

Overall seems like shadow priests are getting a number of slick new PVP talents and damage increase that should scale with the boosts that other caster classes are getting. I am disappointed that our role as utility class in groups/raids is not apparently changing, either through buffing current skills or making new ones. On my server shadow priests are not a sought after commodity for heroics etc, and this will not change after WotLK.

Merlot said...

"On my server shadow priests are not a sought after commodity for heroics etc, and this will not change after WotLK."

I'm not so sure about that. With all the undead in Northrend, I'm hoping we'll be in demand for crowd control. Otherwise, it all depends on who you run with. Find yourself a nice pala tank and you'll be fine :)