So lately there’s been some mumbling and grumbling going on concerning the new tier 8 healing priest set. The problem is not the look of it (though some people aren’t too happy about the rogue look), but more to do with the new bonuses we get from having multiple pieces. I’ll review them real quick:
Both of these are somewhat “meh” to begin with, but when viewed through the eyes of holy spec, even more so. The PoH bonus is weak because as a holy priest, you’re more likely to use CoH with PoH being a back up. Even with the changes to Serendipity, this will only give an extra incentive to cast PoH if you have it glyphed and even then I’d choose my spots to cast it carefully. This is more of a “shrug” sort of bonus for both specs, something that’s nice to have, but you wouldn’t exactly miss it if it was gone.
However, it’s the 4 piece bonus that really highlights one of the issues a lot of priests are beginning to have concerning Blizzard’s recent major changes to the priest class. The problem here is that this tier bonus is obviously aimed at Discipline spec priests. Even though it’s kind of lame (I mean, c’mon, 5 seconds, Blizzard? That’s like kissing your cousin), it’s something a disc priest wouldn’t mind having in their arsenal for the occasional boost. However, as almost every holy spec priest I’ve read over the last few days has pointed out, if you’re running with a disc priest in your raid, you’re probably not casting power word: shield because you don’t want to cut part of what makes a disc priest so damn discy.
But here’s the problem: The stats on the gear are very very nice for holy spec. Not BiS (tier armor almost never is) but damn close in all cases and something that anyone wearing only Naxx gear will jump at the chance to pick up. However, the stats are only mildly interesting for disc priests, who are not looking to stack the spirit heavy pieces that are part of the tier 8 armor set. This essentially means that both specs have a reason to find these attractive and a reason to turn their nose up at them.
Look, Blizz… can I call you Blizz? Blizz, you’ve done a fantastic job turning the discipline priest into a true PvE healing class. You did such a good job, in fact, that you’ve actually made it into a wholly different type of healer, pretty much a completely different class. The style, mindset, major spells, important stats, hell, even the importance of secondary stats are completely different than that of a holy healer. They cast different heals at different times, basing their job performance on what buffs are up when and how much damage they help the tank avoid. They chortle condescendingly when we suggest spirit is fantastic and reach for that extra helping of int instead, and that’s actually pretty awesome. It’s also your fault, Blizz.
You created a system that rewards the disc priest by how much mana they have and how fast they can cast their spells, turning them into haste hungry int mutants terrorizing the countryside. Though you’re set to change their major form of mana regen with the rapture nerf, it’s still based on a percentage of total mana, meaning any smart disc priest will forgo spirit in favor of extra int and straight mp5 where they can get it.
Holy priests on the other hand love them some spirit. When you’re pushing 1,000 spirit (and top geared priests will), you don’t really give a crap about mp5 because you don’t need to. You have enough mana regen that your i5sr amount should be equivalent to someone stacking mp5 instead of spirit. The only difference is that your spirit also adds a straight sp bonus, making it one hella sexy stats for us. I’m talking stilettos here, people.
So we come to the crux of my argument: Why are you trying to please both sides, Blizz? Why do you have to make a single healing set for the priest class? I understand that we’re the only class that has two specific healing specs, but you’ve changed them to the point where they might as well be a dps and healing spec because they’re so wildly different. Classes with three distinct specs such as shamans and paladins get three distinct tier sets, but we’re forced to put up with tier bonuses optimal for disc and disc is forced to put up with stats optimal for holy.
Back in BC this argument would not have been really necessary because it could be argued that the PvP set was the disc set. But with a switch in priorities for the spec and the rise of Blizz’s “bring the player, not the class” philosophy, that idea’s gone right out the window. There are also changes in the mix to make disc into an even more attractive raiding class which will ensure more than a few holy priests picking it up as a secondary spec instead of dps. Because of this, you’re going to see a lot of priests passing up tier gear in favor of items that don’t have spirit slathered all over them. Holy priests will still take them, but the idea of losing the tier bonus won’t really give them pause. This idea of forcing the needs of two fundamentally different specs into a single set devalues the gear for both specs.
Let me close with this. Blizzard, you have turned the priest into three different classes, two of which are healing classes. However, they’re not the same type of healing classes. They’re like Resto Shamans and Druids when it comes to what they want in stats. They do a lot of the same things and have the same end result, but what they value when they’re looking for gear is wildly different. You wouldn’t expect them to seek out the same type of gear stats-wise, yet you seem to think that priests will quietly do just that because we’re united under a common class name. You divided us, and we’re happy for it, but the time has come to finish the job. Acknowledge that we’re just too different to be happy with the same gear for both specs. Otherwise, you probably won’t get much healing in the next Naxx run.