1. #1

    Gaping lack of meaningful changes for Holy Priests

    So I'm looking at the four healing classes, and it's just startling how disadvantaged Priests are when it comes to getting new tools in the expansion. This isn't wholly a power concern, since, if Blizz felt like it, they could make Gift of the Naaru the most powerful heal in the game just by the numbers, and the number of cool new abilities may or may not have any impact on how effective the class is at healing. No, this is a concern about the fundamental attractiveness of Priests come WotLK. Note that I'll focus mainly on PvE healing.

    Let's take a little inventory of what Holy Priests are getting.

    1. Improved Holy Concentration. This is the one talent that I feel truly excited about. I'm not on the beta, but my impression of it is that it will both make mana management a lot easier and also provide us with spikes of incredible HPS. If we just had about three more talents that were as awesome as IHC, things would be great. But we don't, and they aren't.
    2. Test of Faith. Well, if you fall behind on tank healing, you'll have a 25% greater chance not to cause a wipe. But you can't sculpt a playstyle around this talent at all, and its usefulness is marginal, since the increase is not huge and the circumstances where it applies *should* be rare.
    3. Divine Providence. Another deeply lackluster talent. It's not that it's bad (though it sure isn't spectacular), but there's nothing about it that makes me go "Wow, this will make things interesting!"
    4. Serendipity. A minor fix for a minor problem. Will basically just make us feel slightly less pain from the downranking nerf. Also, it weirdly incentivizes overhealing.
    5. Guardian Spirit. For our 51-point talent, we get a long, long-CD "oh snap" button. Like Test of Faith, it will give us a cushion when tank healing, and also will probably save a couple overzealous DPS here and there. It's a strong ability, but once again, it's nothing remotely revolutionary, thanks to the cooldown.
    6. Buff to CoH and Lightwell. Well, now we have to think even less about CoH spamming. The Lightwell change will make it a more useful gimmick, but positioning/charges will still make it rather finicky.
    7. For our SOLE trainable Holy ability, we get...another long, long-CD "oh snap" button.

    So there you have it. Now, I'm not saying these changes are bad, and viewed in isolation I might even feel pretty good about some of them. However, it's when you look at what the other healers get that you realize how shafted Priests are.

    Let's consider Paladins first.

    1. Divine Plea.Trainable Evocation. 'Nuff said.
    2. Enlightened Judgments. By itself, pretty bland, but...
    3. Judgments of the Pure. Essentially constant 10% haste. And popping a few points into Ret for Heart of the Crusader gives Pallies a powerful group buff akin to LotP. The incentive to keep a Judgment up is a big boost.
    4. Sacred Cleansing. Will be powerful for dispel-based encounters.
    5. Greatly buffed Holy Shock: reduced mana cost, cooldown halved, effect increased. And on a crit, it gives an insta-Holy Light. Now a much more viable raid tool. (On par with Penance, I might add).
    6. Beacon of Light. Wow! This is what a 51-point talent should be. Provides incredible dual-tank healing (think about a fight like Bear in ZA, with tank rotations) or simultaneous raid + tank healing. Completely changes the way pallies think about healing. (I will note that, in alpha, the Wiki datamined a Priest buff that was similar to this, but presumably Blizzard decided to give it to Pallies instead).
    7. Sacred Shield. Another paradigm-changing skill. Gives the Paladin long streaks of ~80% crit Flashes, in addition to providing damage absorption.
    8. Blessing of Sanctuary change. Yet another powerful entry in the Pally's huge buff arsenal. Provides constant small mitigation and also gives tanks fairly insane rage/mana regen.
    9. Lay on Hands change. Cooldown reduced to 1/3 its original length, and no longer sucks up all mana. Even untalented, this is an "oh crap" button to rival both GS and DH, cooldown aside.


    How about Shaman?

    1. Hex. Though not strictly related to healing, this is still a class-defining change.
    2. Earthliving Weapon. A flat spellpower bonus, plus sporadic HoTs.
    3. Tidal Waves. Provides single-target throughput bursts comparable to Imp Holy Conc, except much more predictable. The free coefficient buff never hurt anyone either.
    4. Ancestral Awakening. An intriguing talent. I don't really know how its use will play out.
    5. Cleanse Spirit. Holy crap! Another major Shaman weakness fixed.
    6. Tidal Force. Powerful single-target healing tool, and pretty interesting to boot.
    7. Imp Earth Shield/Blessing of the Eternals. I'll grant that these are pretty dang boring.
    8. Improved Water Shield. Comparable to Pallies' Illumination or Priest's Holy Conc.
    9. Spirit Link. Damn! Again, this is what a 51-pointer should look like. Similar to the Pallies' in that it's amazing for keeping multiple tanks alive, but it has SO many other uses as well. Combined with Chain Heal, it makes Shammies even more powerful at AoE healing. Think about it in a 5-man: Spirit Link means it makes sense to use Chain, because you can make it so that three party members take small amounts of damage instead of one (tank) taking large amounts. Once again, this completely revolutionizes the Shaman's healing style.

    All right, Druids.

    1. Revive. Bam. Priests are now the only healing class without both wipe protection and an out-of-combat resurrection. (Pallies DI, Shamans ankh, Druids battle rez).
    2. Nourish. A powerful, quick nuke heal with no cooldown, something which Druids previously lacked. Even without a HoT up, it's essentially the same as Flash Heal, and with a HoT up it becomes about 15% better (a little more expensive).
    3. Master Shapeshifter change. Admittedly not flashy, but it does benefit ALL possible playstyles.
    4. Living Seed. Very close to Ancestral Healing/Inspiration.
    5. Improved Tree of Life. Double armor in healing form! Plus very meaningful efficiency buff.
    6. Gift of the Earthmother. The reduced GCD is huge and will drastically change the way Druids think about healing, particularly when it comes to Lifebloom stacking etc. Extra mana is a nice bonus too.
    7. Replenish. Damn! Power returns on Rejuv ticks is pretty huge.
    8. Flourish. Another amazing tool, like a mini-tranquility. Will probably end up providing comparable numbers to CoH.

    So here are the problems I'm seeing. Every class gets several powerful new abilities that really change the healing playstyle for the better...except Priests. Every class gets at least one trainable new ability that's directly related to healing and that changes the healing paradigm at least a little...except Priests. Every class gets at least one "fix" to a major problem--Druids get an out-of-combat rez and a reliable AoE heal, Pallies get multi-target healing, Shaman get a CC spell and a friendly dispel--Priests get none of this.

    Holy's 51-point talent has a long cooldown and really doesn't add anything meaningful to the class except allowing a little bit of laziness. All the other healing trees' 51-pointers are real game-changers and fundamentally remake the healing paradigm for the class. The sole healing-oriented trainable talent for Priests has exactly the same problem...it's a good effect, but it's a one-off thing, and it's slapped onto a crippling cooldown, meaning that it really doesn't change you how you play or bring anything truly new. Trainable abilities like Nourish, Divine Plea, Hex, Earthliving Weapon (sort of) and Sacred Shield are infinitely more meaningful and exciting.

    To sum up, I'm sad that the Priest healing tree is getting so little attention compared to that of the other three healing classes. While Druids, Shamans and Paladins get, for the most part, very intriguing new talents that will really make playing the class more dynamic and attractive, nearly all of the new Holy talents are either marginal, largely invisible improvements (10% bonus to AoE heals? How much more bland can you get?) or potentially interesting abilities hampered by long cooldowns and a lack of "game-changing"-ness. The trainable abilities are the same. And, on a side note, it seems mildly scandalous that Priests get a measly 2 trained abilities, while Druids get 3 and Paladins and Shaman each get 4.

    It just feels like we'll be going through the same old rotations of Greater Heal/Renew/ProM on tanks and CoH on the raid, with the only new things being the occasional burst of IHC goodness and the ability to save a struggling tank every three minutes or save the party every 10 minutes (whereas, of course, every OTHER healer has a real wipe-recovery skill). Meanwhile, all the other healers will have so many more tools at their disposal: Druids will have a new, quick nuke heal and a great AoE healing skill, plus a raid-regen mechanic, and the HoT game will be radically different with the 1s GCD; Shaman will have a powerful damage-redirecting ability to figure out and abuse, a friendly dispel, a quality CC, and the ability to switch between Chain Heals and super-fast Waves; and Paladins will be exploiting Beacon of Light for all it's worth, keeping Sacred Shield up, using the now-good Holy Shock more often, and be able to Evocate, plus giving the tanks free rage with Sanc. Overall, it really feels like Priests have been somewhat dumped by the wayside for the expansion, and as a proud Priest mainer, I feel pretty bummed about that.

    (I would love it if someone could repost this on the official beta forum.)

  2. #2

    Re: Gaping lack of meaningful changes for healing Priests

    I have too admit when i see the holy talent tree of a priest i'm not excited to ever go holy. I have a lv 54 priest myself and i quit playing him when i realised a priest ain't my style lol.

    and i doubt now with wotlk coming out i will ever play him again. not that i hate the changes but simply because the classe doesn't suit me.

    and when i see the resto talent tree of druids i thinking to myself that it's simply awesome. an ooc spell with no cd?
    everyone wants to have druid in their party now cause when you get wiped and some mobs in the instance have been respawnend. druid can easily avoid them trough stealth and ress the entire party. for that alone i'm glad i have a 70 druid


  3. #3
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    Re: Gaping lack of meaningful changes for healing Priests

    Even if you managed to write "healing priests" you skipped discipline 100%
    "Only Jack can zip up."
    The word you want to use is "have" not "of".
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  4. #4

    Re: Gaping lack of meaningful changes for Holy Priests

    Fixed.

  5. #5

    Re: Gaping lack of meaningful changes for Holy Priests

    I play a healing priest as a dedicated main as well. And, the priest changes have me disappointed and not looking forward to the expansion. You've eloquently stated exactly how I feel.

  6. #6

    Re: Gaping lack of meaningful changes for Holy Priests

    To be honest I didn't read your list of suggestions, but it's a decently thought out thread from what I read.

    My opinion on the subject is, currently on live Holy Priests have a gaping lack of weaknesses. We have instants, direct heals, hots, and AoE ability.

    What we lack is true excellence in any of these categories. Chain Heal, as a brain heal, is more effective than CoH. Flash of Light/Holy Light are more efficient single target healing. Lifebloom and swiftmend make Druid HoTs more useful and efficient.

    Which is why the holy tree is not getting new toys, but is rather getting excellent buffs to throughput and efficiency. Imp. Holy Conc. Will give us Pally-Like single tank healing efficiency and throughput on procs, and a brain healing CoH will put us closer to shamans. Our HoTs haven't been buffed, but we get percentage healing increases and overhealing insurance, as well as the Test of Faith capability.

    Holy is going to be strong and have a raid spot. If you are looking for new toys in healing, as many priests will, spec penance. I know I will for at least a while.

  7. #7

    Re: Gaping lack of meaningful changes for Holy Priests

    Quote Originally Posted by shyg

    Holy is going to be strong and have a raid spot. If you are looking for new toys in healing, as many priests will, spec penance. I know I will for at least a while.
    yes, go raid as disipline, disicplie aperantly is the new "holy" tree
    after all, class designer koraa suggested holy tree is for pvp, and discipline, yes its for MT healing without having the ability to heal raid and with rly low HPS - i will heal with sheilding GG
    GO GO PENANCE SPECC

  8. #8

    Re: Gaping lack of meaningful changes for Holy Priests

    If you haven't played the beta, you don't have a real feel for how Disc actually is to play. I've been playing a priest more or less since release and it really is disgusting how much better holy is than Disc, even with the changes. I have to admit that looking at the talents, it looks as though a lot is going to be opening up, but I have news for you, it really isn't.

    Rapture is decidedly lackluster, Grace doesn't last nearly as long as it should, Divine Aegis is cool I guess, if you like to rage starve your tank. I do have to give props to blizzard for Renewed Hope, since it is a cool idea, but I just don't see it being all that practical.

    Unless there are a lot of changes here that have not yet been mentioned, Disc will remain a PvP tree, and Holy the PvE.

    Oh yeah....I forgot about Pennance, that's the spell that heals for slightly more than a flash heal but takes longer to cast. The only benefit I see to casting Pennance on someone is if you plan on them being out of LoS of you shortly after casting it (A la PvP).

    As a side note, Imp. Holy Concentration is far and away the best priest talent that has come out so far, and I honestly wouldn't be all that surprised if it gets the nerf bat pretty soon here. Hopefully, if the devs take the time to nerf IHC, they will see what you're talking about with priest healing.


    Edit: I forgot to mention that, I don't remember seeing it anywhere but ProM can now crit, though I suppose that could be bugged.

  9. #9

    Re: Gaping lack of meaningful changes for Holy Priests

    Ever hear the phrase "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"?

    Every point that's absorbed by a shield is a point that does NOT need to be healed, saving that much more mana for the other tank healers.

    Not going to have nearly as much HPS, so what?

    Damage absorbed doesn't currently show up on meters but that's just a matter of fixing the meters when the combat log gets adjusted. We'll see then where Disc stands.

    And a note about rage-starvation: tanks are generating more rage now then ever, and blizzard is currently reviewing data from Naxx with regards to how damage shields effect tank rage and threat-generation. If an adjustment needs to be made, they will make it.

  10. #10

    Re: Gaping lack of meaningful changes for Holy Priests

    the whole idea as a healer in pve is that you will heal and not "save mana". i just hate those healers finishing encounters with 100% mana lowest hps ever, basically draging along
    sheild has never been for me a way to keep a tank up, maybe a mage, or warlock, but a tank - i would rather cast the Gheal beacue thats how you play in pve, thats how it always worked.
    i understand my pvpers go kara and think omg i understand in pve, but that doesn't make you eligable to think that now you know. you don't like i didn't know shit in kara and went as disci with PS.
    i know that you think "omg i have the beta key i know better", but shall i remind you many have the beta key, did you miss the part where some got to lvl 80 and probably tested better then you how its to raid as disci and holy? and probably know better then you. well guess what there are ppl like that. instead of going "omg absord dmg just like pvp" and thinking fuck hps when tank isn't geting dmg
    THEN WHERE DID THE PVE GO?!
    welcome to barrens general chat, thats how i feel.
    disci can be vailable only for MT healing, you will be a very weak raid healer, and tbh - paladins will do it better then you. seriously think with your brain don't let it lag.

  11. #11

    Re: Gaping lack of meaningful changes for Holy Priests

    Quote Originally Posted by shyg
    My opinion on the subject is, currently on live Holy Priests have a gaping lack of weaknesses. We have instants, direct heals, hots, and AoE ability.

    What we lack is true excellence in any of these categories. Chain Heal, as a brain heal, is more effective than CoH. Flash of Light/Holy Light are more efficient single target healing. Lifebloom and swiftmend make Druid HoTs more useful and efficient.

    Which is why the holy tree is not getting new toys, but is rather getting excellent buffs to throughput and efficiency. Imp. Holy Conc. Will give us Pally-Like single tank healing efficiency and throughput on procs, and a brain healing CoH will put us closer to shamans. Our HoTs haven't been buffed, but we get percentage healing increases and overhealing insurance, as well as the Test of Faith capability.
    I mean, I totally agree. As I was drawing up my list I realized that Priests really are the jack-of-all-trades healing class, and that we do have at least one tool for almost every role (single-target heal spam, HoTs, AoE heals, decursing). And you're right that the new Holy tree is basically a series of add-ons and enhancements to the already-powerful healing style we use on Live. The problem is just that (a) it's sorely clear that the devs aren't listening to or caring about us nearly as much as the other healers, and (b) we aren't getting anything really new or different, while everybody else is. I have no doubt that my Imp Holy Spec/CoH/GS Priest will be a fun class to play, and will be brought along on raids; the problem is that it will be on every level the same class it is now, with the same style and skills. Other classes get a new tool; we just get a bigger wrench.

  12. #12

    Re: Gaping lack of meaningful changes for Holy Priests

    Quote Originally Posted by fumphis
    Other classes get a new tool; we just get a bigger wrench.
    Perfect line.
    Sums it up well.

  13. #13

    Re: Gaping lack of meaningful changes for Holy Priests

    Quote Originally Posted by Whoru
    Ever hear the phrase "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"?
    The phrases loses some context when a pound of prevention(shield) costs more (mana) than a pound of cure(heal)...And has a 15s cooldown per target, and prevents your tank from getting Power, and has a 4s cooldown, and can be dispeled in pvp. Although on the upside it ignores mortal strike!

  14. #14

    Re: Gaping lack of meaningful changes for Holy Priests

    gee, maybe the reason why we haven't gotten any new tools is because we already have so many? Other classes got new spells/abilities to give them new ways to heal. Maybe the devs believe that we are just fine as we are?

    Holy is, and always will be, the jack-of-all-trades when it comes to healing. I'm perfectly fine with that. You want to specialize at a healing role? Go disc or reroll.

    And thethain, keep in mind that shield, fully buffed up with talents, pays for itself through rapture. And DA procs have no cooldown.

  15. #15

    Re: Gaping lack of meaningful changes for Holy Priests

    Cool ideas are thought of were a reflect shield for disc and a heal that heals for more when the target is low on life. Both could have medium sized cool downs.

    The reflect shield would be fun and useful. Watching a fire ball turn around and go back at the attacker in PvE and PvP would be cool and this ability would be useful to all priest specs.

    A healing spell that slowly ramps up on healing the lower the target is on hp would have a lot of variable making it a spell that has a big difference between good and bad. When a tank is taking heavy damage this gives us another option to use.

    Even though I didn't get into specifics I know some people will come and say OP but I would rather people say if they would think that would be fun and a skill that goes along with "easy to learn but hard to master." Cool downs, durations, and healing numbers could all be adjusted until it is fun and balanced.

  16. #16

    Re: Gaping lack of meaningful changes for Holy Priests

    Quote Originally Posted by fumphis
    Let's consider Paladins first.

    1. Divine Plea.Trainable Evocation. 'Nuff said.
    2. Enlightened Judgments. By itself, pretty bland, but...
    3. Judgments of the Pure. Essentially constant 10% haste. And popping a few points into Ret for Heart of the Crusader gives Pallies a powerful group buff akin to LotP. The incentive to keep a Judgment up is a big boost.
    4. Sacred Cleansing. Will be powerful for dispel-based encounters.
    5. Greatly buffed Holy Shock: reduced mana cost, cooldown halved, effect increased. And on a crit, it gives an insta-Holy Light. Now a much more viable raid tool. (On par with Penance, I might add).
    6. Beacon of Light. Wow! This is what a 51-point talent should be. Provides incredible dual-tank healing (think about a fight like Bear in ZA, with tank rotations) or simultaneous raid + tank healing. Completely changes the way pallies think about healing. (I will note that, in alpha, the Wiki datamined a Priest buff that was similar to this, but presumably Blizzard decided to give it to Pallies instead).
    7. Sacred Shield. Another paradigm-changing skill. Gives the Paladin long streaks of ~80% crit Flashes, in addition to providing damage absorption.
    8. Blessing of Sanctuary change. Yet another powerful entry in the Pally's huge buff arsenal. Provides constant small mitigation and also gives tanks fairly insane rage/mana regen.
    9. Lay on Hands change. Cooldown reduced to 1/3 its original length, and no longer sucks up all mana. Even untalented, this is an "oh crap" button to rival both GS and DH, cooldown aside.
    I’m afraid that the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence. While Holy Paladins (note: you’ve highlighted some talents deep in other trees) have finally gotten some long-overdue utility, much of it needs an overhaul to be effective. Hopefully in the coming patches both Paladins and Priests will get further tweaking to make everything work in harmony; a quick look over in the Paladin forums will yield threads similar to your own. Rather than comparing one class against another, we need to look at our own classes and how to improve them in their own way. Handing Priests a renamed Beacon of Light would no more fix your class than plopping Prayer of Mending onto a Paladin’s bar.
    The answer is always more Paladins.
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  17. #17

    Re: Gaping lack of meaningful changes for Holy Priests

    Mmm, but this isn't about "fixing" classes...once again, no one doubts that Blizzard will find a way to make sure each spec gets its 0.9259 raid spots. It's about what classes are getting what kind of attention, and to that end it's fair to compare one class to another. The fact remains that, if you play a Holy Priest, your gameplay experience isn't going to feel nearly as different as a Paladin's (/Druid's/Shaman's) from BC.

    As for the idea that Priests are getting less attention because they're "already fine," I contend that a class shouldn't see fewer new things in the expansion just because it was better balanced before the expansion. Again, it's not like we're asking for an instant-cast 10k heal + 5k HoT + 2k Shield + EPIC WIN uber-spell, just a few things to spice life up and get us excited about the future of the class. And I might add that, despite the supposedly superior state of Priest balancing, it's not as if Holy Priests were over-represented in BC: you still saw roughly equal distributions of the healing classes, possibly excepting the CoH phenomenon at T6 (which was basically a case of Blizzard taking pity and designing encounters around it, anyway).

    As for ideas about what specifically to do with Holy Priests, that ground has been amply covered by the legions over on the beta boards and elsewhere.

    And yeah, BoSanc is in Prot, oops.

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