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.
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.