16 September 2008

An end to priest racials

Blizzard has finally nailed its colours to the mast on priest racials — with mixed results.

You'll remember, these are the race-specific spells that priests get access to at levels 10 and 20. They've been a source of controversy and bickering on the priest forums since their conception, and some kind of decisive action on Blizzard's part has been long overdue. Well now, wow insider is reporting that class designer Koraa has announced an end to them altogether.

A few things are happening instead:
  • Devouring plague, the undead dot disease that heals the caster for the damage it does, is becoming baseline, with a reduced mana cost and cooldown.
  • Symbol of hope, the draenei spell that returns mana to the priest's party, is also being baselined. The spell is being renamed hymn of hope, but the amount of mana it returns is being severely reduced.
  • Desperate prayer, the human and dwarf instant-cast, mana-free self heal, is replacing holy nova as a talent. Holy nova is being baselined instead.
  • All other racial spells are being removed.
These changes are largely positive, and I think shadow priests come off particularly well. We get an extra dot, a second way to provide mana to our party, and access to holy nova — finally, an aoe for levelling shadow priests (who won't pick up mind sear till Northrend).

I suspect our holy brethren will also be pleased to get desperate prayer as a talent instead of holy nova, which while fun to use, is rather short on utility.

I'll be keen to see how devouring plague scales, and how it's damage per mana compares with our other spells (right now, it's a hideously expensive spell). And I think it's a shame that symbol of hope had to be nerfed so badly, but I understand why. I for one won't miss any of the other spells.

The important thing to me is that the system is now fair, and no longer penalises people for rolling without prior knowledge of the spells.

That's the positive. Well done Blizzard for finally taking some action on this pernicious topic.

Ultimately, however, the majority of priests will probably view these changes as a missed opportunity. I blogged a few weeks ago about a suggestion on the forums for a faith-based system, which would have enabled priests to choose a distinct path for themselves using the racial spells as a basis. that was just the latest in a long line of requests for faiths. It would have been a much more interesting and creative way of ending the perceived imbalance and irritation of priest racials.

This doesn't rule out a faith system at a later date of course, even if it does remove the impetus to implement one. Perhaps it's something we may one day see in a future expansion. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy my newfound disease.


Anonymous said...

Right well you and everyone else who is in favour of this change seem to be making one very big assumption. That is that the new Devouring Plague will be the same as it is now except for being castable every 30 secs and having a 'much reduced mana cost'. If you think that you're living in cloud cuckoo land imo.

Having a high damage dot that gives 100% damage returned as health every 30 secs with a 'much reduced mana cost' would be massively overpowered. Blizzard wouldn't give us that as a 51 point talent never mind a baseline spell. I'm sure you're going to see this spell either have it damage nerf'd drastically or more like have the baseline health return reduced to 20% or less.

On top of this as well remember it's a disease. There are lots of mobs immune to it, all dwarves can stoneform it, mages can iceblock it, all healers can cure it except druids but I'm sure their hots will make it irrelevant anyway. Plus for those other classes who have no defence for it there is always the potion of curing, something that I always carry on my hunter and rogue. (Potion of curing is a 120 alchemy skill potion, world drop with cheap ingrediants and cures poisons and diseases).

I admit I'm a bit annoyed about this change for another reason. As a troll priest I loved Shadowguard. A lot of people say its rubbish or has little use but tbh I think that is mainly because most people either have never used it or don't know how to use it properly.

Its a spell that proc's off everything melee, ranged and spells. Causes good damage at higher levels and proc's blackout pretty well. Saved my ass many times...it has a fantastic synergy with the rest of the shadow tree as well. There wasn't anything better to get shadoweaving up quickly. Just got to hope that it might be added to the shadow tree now especially if it had a damage buff.

Anonymous said...

goodbye starshards. I always enjoyed casting you as I ran out of aoe spells.

TKC said...

Noooo!!!! Not my starshards!!!!!

My poor NE shadow priest's favorite toy. There is no such thing as enough dot's for rogues in the battlegrounds.

Merlot said...

@the first anonymous...

Well, I'm aware there's a big question mark over the implementation of a baseline dp. But I've decided on this occasion to quit whining and start embracing the changes :)

I notice the people who are hit hardest by the removal of racials seem to be pvp priests. That would explain why I don't really appreciate the impact. But I wouldn't have removed them given a chance. I really think faiths would have worked beautifully.

Anonymous said...

Argh!!! Noooo!! QQ x 1000!!! As a dwarf, they took away my precious FW and now they take away my desperate prayer too??? Yeah, I know..it bumped me out of shadow, but many a time that little brightness kept my dwarfy body going. And with the potion sickness happening.... *deep sigh*. Oh fine, yes I always liked the pretty sparkly AOE but meh.. I'd rather save my life.

Anonymous said...

Yep as I predicted in my first post above the hp return on DP has been severely nerf'd and it doesn't work with Twisted Faith. This straight from the PTR;

'might be a bug, or it might be intended but dp only returns ~15% of the hp on ptr. Also it doesnt work with twisted faith (no 5% increase)'

Anonymous said...

My first Shadowpriest was a night elf and I hated "Tardshards" when it was channeled. Once it became instant cast and mana free it always came in handy.

Now that my Shadowpriest is Undead, the only thing I need to worry about is where to fit DP in to my spell priority =\