The 3.1 Patch notes were released last night, and this morning the blogosphere is buzzing with updates and commentary. I’ve copied Khaeli to the PTR, but I haven’t downloaded the patch yet. Nonetheless, I’ve got opinions, dammit. For the complete notes, read here. For my initial reactions on all the priest changes that I’ve noticed thus far, read on.
Divine Spirit is now trainable at level 31.
I am really pleased about this change. Spirit is such a useful spell for (most) healers and for casters, even with the impending nerf to in-combat mana regen. Khaeli-as-shadow definitely looks forward to this with its synergy with Twisted Faith
Holy Nova: Mana cost reduced approximately 20%.
Khaeli glyphed for this recently, as the resto druid in me loves to have instant-cast heals. The range limitation for Holy Nova remains, but now I’ll feel less guilty about spamming this as we move during Polarity Shift and post-Vortex
Meditation: Allows 17% of your mana regeneration to continue in combat.
Up from 10% per rank as the talent currently reads. It seems as though, with the nerfs to other abilities, this buff will be needed.
Hymn of Hope: This spell has been removed.
Once the Draenei priests’ racial, this spell has always struck me as lackluster. If I run out of mana mid-fight, is it really realistic to channel to regain (minimal) mana? Because if I’ve run out of mana, I’ve been healing my ass off, so chances are, channeling just ain’t gonna happen. And if I need mana out-of-combat, call me silly but I prefer drinking. While I’m not sad to see Hymn of Hope go, I do wonder if they will grant us a new level 60 spell. I also wonder why, apparently, they’ve added a glyph for this spell now.
Prayer of Healing: This spell now heals the target’s party, rather than being limited to just your direct party.
I like this change. In 25man content, my raid leader typically puts all the healers in one group, which has always meant Prayer of Healing and Holy Nova were underutilized. Targeting a melee group, for example, with Prayer of Healing will be very nice.
Shadowfiend: Health scaling increased. Now receives 30% of the
master’s spell power. Mana return increased to 5%, up from 4%. The
Shadowfiend now receives mana when its melee attacks land, rather than
when it deals damage. Movement speed normalized to player movement
speed. Tooltip revised.
Oh shadowfiend. You always disappoint me with your penchant for dying to AOE and for running back to my side when there are more mobs to melee. I’m not sure what it means that the shadowfiend gains spellpower. Maybe he’ll pewpewpew from the back with the warlocks. A 1% increase in mana return will be nice, if the little bastard actually lives to return it.
Divine Aegis – Divine Aegis effects will now stack, however the amount absorbed cannot exceed 125*level (of the target).
Yay! I’m sitting at around 40% crit when raid buffed, and that means it’s likely that Penance will crit with each laser. Right now, these procs just replace one another, but now my bubble just got 125*level better
Grace: Duration increased to 15 seconds, but now is only limited to one target.
I’m not happy with this change. This cements the Discipline Priest as the main tank healer, something that doesn’t bother me. What I do worry about is how any other healing I do will remove Grace from the tank.
Focused Will. Increases your spell critical chance by 1%, and
after taking a critical hit, you gain Focused Will, reducing all damage
by 2% and increasing healing effects on you by 3%.
This has been part of the Disc Priest’s PVP spec, but now that it increases crit chance, it has a PVE application.
Improved Power: Word Fortitude – Now also increases your total Stamina by 2/4%.
meh I’d prefer Improved Inner Fire where I don’t lose the damn charges while soloing, reducing my armor to tissue paper. kkthx
New Talent: Soul Warding: Reduces the cooldown of your Power
Word: Shield ability by 4 sec., and reduces the mana cost of your Power
Word: Shield by 30%.
This I like. The current cooldown on PW:S limits the Disc Priest’s ability to react to damage to multiple targets. And anything that reduces mana costs in 3.1 is a good, good thing.
New Talent: Improved Flash Heal. Reduces the mana cost of your
Flash heal by 5% and increases the crit chance by 4% on targets below
50% health. (3 ranks)
Glyphed, this spell is already very efficient. And now, I love it even more. And of course, more crit equals more bubble.
Penance: Damage increased approximately 30%.This spell can now be cast on yourself.
I do not think I have ever cast Penance as an offensive spell. I can’t imagine I ever will, merely because the cooldown would make the spell unavailable to heal (although a new glyph will lower the cooldown of this spell by 2 seconds). I cannot wait to be able to heal myself with Penance. I do wonder what the animation will be like.
Rapture revamped. Now a 3 point talent. When your Power Word:
Shield is completely absorbed or dispelled you are instantly energized
with 1.5% of your total mana, and you have a 33% chance to energize
your shielded target with 2% total mana, 8 rage, 16 energy or 32 runic
power. This effect cannot occur once every 12 seconds.
Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. While the talent means that tanks can officially STFU about being shielded, the loss of the mana returns from effective healing hurts. This is a huge nerf to Disc Priests’ OP mana regen!
Enlightenment: Increases spirit and spell haste by 2% per rank (3 ranks)
Currently this talent gives Disc Priests an increase to stamina and haste by 1% per rank. Nice change for PVE. Not sure how this will impact those who PVP.
Reflective Shield:This talent has been removed.
Well, according to the patch notes, it’s gone, but this talent is still listed on MMO-Champion’s talent tool, so I hope it remains. To remove this would be a major blow to Discipline PVP.
Circle of Healing: Healing increased by approximately 40%.
Nerf. Buff. Nerf. Buff. Such is the cycle of MMOs.
Holy Concentration re-designed: Mana regeneration is increased
by 16/32/50% for 8 sec after you critically heal with Flash Heal,
Greater Heal, Binding Heal or Renew.
Currently this talent affords the Holy Priest a 30% chance to enter a clearcasting state so their next heal is “free.” With enough crit, a Holy Priest might be able to have this “up” all the time, perhaps addressing some of the mana regen problems priests are fearing.
New Talent: Empowered Renew: Your Renew spell gains an
additional 5/10/15% of your bonus healing effects, and your Renew will
instantly heal the target for 5/10/15% of the total periodic effect.
Renew has always struck me as a rather horrid HoT, part because 15 seconds is such a bloody long time for a heal to tick. It’s always been a nice buffer spell, but never really something you could cast on a target who really needed instant healing. This change will make it far better.
Serendipity re-designed: When you heal with Binding Heal or
Flash Heal, the cast time of your next Greater Heal or Prayer of
Healing spell is reduced by 6/12/20%. Stacks up to 3 times. Lasts 20
Interesting. No more benefit from overhealing Holy Priests. (Now stay off my target, fuckers.) Perhaps now, priests will again start casting Greater Heal as they’ll have it hasted.
Dispersion: Now clears all snare and movement impairing effects and makes you immune to them while dispersed.
Wow, dispersion might be something more than a PVE-oriented mana potion.
New Talent: Improved Devouring Plague (Shadow): Increases the
periodic damage done by your Devouring Plague by 5/10/15%, and when you
cast Devouring Plague you instantly deal damage equal to 5/10/15% of
its total periodic effect.
I love Devouring Plague. I love it that DKs spread it. Of course, Blizzard is changing the way Pestilence works (of course). But nonetheless, this is a nice buff to a good little spell.
Shadowform: Bonus damage from critical strike chance removed
and replaced by the ability of those periodic damage spells to generate
Our DoTs can crit?! ZOMG.
Vampiric Embrace duration increased to 5 minutes, up from 1 minute. PvP duration is now 60 seconds. Cooldown removed.
The removal of the cooldown on any spell is nice, and this will make it available to be cast on multiple mobs (VE–>Devouring Plague–>Pestilence–>Mind Sear–>Full health even if they all try to wtfpwn you). The Pugnacious Priest wrote a nice little blog post yesterday about Vampiric Embrace, and I know when I play Khaeli as shadow, I do try to keep this spell up, even though it isn’t, perhaps, the best avenue for my personal DPS (I still see the spec as a support class, despite Blizzard’s insistence that no such thing exists). A five minute duration means that you can really set it and forget it on most boss fights.