Yesterday I was surfing the interwebs like a good little WoW addict and went on over mmo-champion to check the latest on the blue tracker. After scrolling down to the priest info (as if there was any other kind), I came across this juicy little tidbit here:
Will raids want Disc priests? We are honestly not too worried about that. We’d estimate about half of the healing priests we’ve watched in Ulduar are Disc, at least for the guilds that are making boss kills. Consider, that when you have a tank with 45,000 health and a boss is hitting for 25,000 health (which is not the kind of thing we did in Naxx, but is in Ulduar), none of the healing you can do will let that tank survive two hits in a row. But Power Word: Shield will.
Blizzard… what the hell? You’ve been touting this “bring the player, not the class” attitude for a few months now, slowly homogenizing the holy priest to the point where we’re pretty much interchangeable with druids, and shamans are even slightly better than us at AoE heals. I love my class and my spec, but I don’t hold any illusions about the idea that we’re indispensable in raids or better than any other class in certain aspects. I’m fine with all of that.
However, on the flip side of the coin, Blizzard has been going to great lengths to make disc priests a viable and attractive component for any raid and 3.1 will see that increase even further. Disc priests will now be able to cast crazy huge shields left and right and at the same time will be able to give not just one person, but the entire raid a 3% damage mitigation boost. Blizzard says they don’t want any one type of healer to be more attractive than another, and certainly a disc priest is not mandatory, but with these changes, guilds are going to be actively seeking at least one regular disc priest for raids. Holy? Not so much.
Now don’t get me wrong, as a priest I like the idea that this statement is pretty much saying that Power Word: Shield is going to become an almost mandatory spell in raids, but it is a sort of hypocrisy on Blizzard’s part. Here they’ve been stating that they don’t want you to have to look at what type of healers you have, but then one of the devs is pretty much saying that they’re designing content with a priest only spell specifically in mind. But it goes even further when you look at the fact that PW:S really is more of a disc priest’s specialty. Holy priests don’t have or want talents boosting this spell. Hell’s bells, the only time I even cast this spell as a holy priest is when I’m on MT healing which happens maybe once a month.
So basically what this tells me is that priests will be mandatory as raiders in 3.1 for at least one fight. Win. However, it also says that disc priests will be the optimal version of priests as they are specifically planning encounters based wholly on damage mitigation or else your raid will wipe. Lose. They’ve also stated in the past that they will not be planning encounters with the idea that players can freely switch specs in between boss fights. I guess that idea only applies to disc priests. Fact is, almost no holy priest is going to want MT duties over raid duties. It’s a job we can do, but not one we’re going to excel at over a disc priest thanks to our lack of mitigation talents. If a priest wants to heal the MT, he’s most likely to go disc for that job.
So here’s my problem with this statement: It’s assuming that healing priests don’t care what kind of healer they are. I care, buddy, I care big time. As I’ve stated before, disc spec is fun, it’s interesting and Penance is, hands down, one of the coolest spells I’ve ever cast before, but I don’t want to be a discipline priest for raiding. I’ll take it as my second spec because I don’t really care much for dpsing, but I’m hoping to use it as little as possible, really. I like CoH and seeing 6 little blobs of numbers pop up from a group of people. I enjoy seeing little wings pop up from someone when I cast Guardian Spirit on them. I enjoy being holy while raiding.
Now perhaps this was just a throw-away statement by a dev that he wasn’t really thinking about when he made, but it serves to highlight what I feel is an alarming trend concerning priest heals. In BC, disc priests were considered the PvP healing version of the class, which was kind of lame, but whatever. However, with WotLK, Blizzard has gone such great lengths to make disc priests a raiding class that they have made them more of a necessity in certain situation than holy priests. If Blizzard wants the idea to be that people are bringing the player, then why would they make a situation where I’m pretty much forced to switch specs in order to effectively heal for my raid? That statement tells me that in 3.1, disc priests will actually be better than holy priests in some situations, thus relegating holy as a lesser tree since it isn’t any more or less attractive than other healers.
Look, maybe I’m overreacting and reading too much into this one statement and I will say that it’s not like I’m going to have disc as my main spec from now on to make sure I get into raids. But my point is that if disc and holy priests are separate classes (and believe me when I say that I truly think they are), then creating these types of encounters will force one of two things: Guilds actively passing up a holy priest in favor of a disc priest or forcing a holy or even shadow priest to switch to disc for those particular encounters. Blizzard has stated that they’re actively trying to avoid these situations when it comes to other classes, but that seems to be forgotten when it comes to the priest class as if we don’t care what spec we are. Blizzrd, I’m a Holy Priest and I want my Circle of Healing, is that so wrong?