Hey everyone! Sorry about missing out ion my usual weekend posts, but as I said on Friday, I went upstate to Cooperstown for the weekend and it was pretty awesome. You haven’t lived till you’ve seen a full blown tractor parade, btw. When I got back, I, of course, had many many blog posts to read and updates to sift through to see how things had changed and what updates were coming. This process involved swinging on over to MMO-Champion in order to check the latest relevant blue posts on priests and see what was coming out of the Argent Tournament next patch.
I was delighted to see that they had posted the full informal shadow priest Q & A since I hadn’t had a chance to read through it before I left for the weekend. Though I’m usually healing in a raid or group environment, I do still have shadow as my off spec and, as such, like to keep abreast of changes involving them. I thought it was a fantastic Q & A with some poignant questions and observations regarding shadow priests and their roles in PvE and PvP. However, reading through the full post, I kept getting the same vibe from Ghostcrawler in his answers of “the devs think the class is fine for the most part and you just want to be OP again.”
I happen to disagree myself. I feel like the class does need another nuke or to make Mind Flay a more PvE friendly spell instead of filler or that Devouring Plague needs to be made into a single target only spell with no cooldown. As a shadow priest, the only way to truly shine in raids is through AoE damage or have gear out the yin yang. But it appears as though the devs pretty much think the class is good where it’s at and though they might tweak it at some point in the future, there’s no plans to do so now. The funny thing is that if you look back through the archives of priest changes since Wrath landed, that seems to be their philosophy regarding priests in general.
That’s not to say that there hasn’t been any changes. Just like everyone else in the game, we had sweeping changes in our talent trees in 3.1 and the tweaking of a couple of our spells to improve their raiding and PvE capabilities. Since then, however, we’ve seen minor nerfs with almost no improvements overall to the class in subsequent patches, cutting back on the effectiveness of some of our bigger spells because of it. So I decided to meander on over to the official patch notes for the upcoming 3.2 patch and peruse through it to see what buffs we could expect along with all the other classes. I’ll list all of them for you now:
Inspiration: The buff from this ability now reduces the physical damage taken by the target by 3/7/10% instead of increasing the target’s armor.
That’s it, and I’m not even sure how much of a buff that turns out to be in the end after all the math is done. The only other two changes are nerfs, one lowering the cooldown on Penance from 10 to 12 seconds, which is a huge nerf for disc priests, and a nerf to the effectiveness of Prayer of Healing, a 28.1% reduction of the bonus it gets from your spell power. Every other class seems to be getting either a buff or a major change to try and improve them while it appears as though priests have slowly been becoming OP in the dev’s opinions, or that we kicked their dog. This, of course, is crap.
In raids, priests are the muscle of the healing team, constantly banging out big heals all over the place. Both of these nerfs to the two trees deals a blow to the healing priests’ overall healing total and in the case of the discipline priest, puts further restriction on their prime healing spells. I’m also befuddled as to why they would encourage us to cast Prayer of Healing with Serendipity in 3.1 and then stifle that same spell in 3.2. It’s not as if the spell is cheap or anything, casting it over and over again will burn your mana bar so quickly that it’s only truly effective in predictable AoE damage situations. But now, not so much.
Not to mention that the Replenishment nerf will hit Holy Priests especially hard. In long fights with things set the way they are now, holy priests still have to tiptoe and dance a little here and there in order to last to the end. We can’t just chain cast because we have bigger mana costs on the spells that Blizzard wants us to start weaving into our rotation. So what they’re saying to priests is “Oh, hey, use these spells now, they cost a bunch, but they’ll be the best way to keep your raid alive in Ulduar. Oh, and btw, one of them now sucks a little bit more in addition to costing an arm and a leg. Oh, also, we feel like you’re not worried enough during boss fights, so now you have less mana regen. We’ll be over here if you need us, but you won’t, cause you’re awesome. Ta ta.”
Of course, I must put the caveat here that the patch has not gone live yet and changes could still be made. But for the most part, the priest as a class has seen few benefits added to balance all these nerfs they’re laying on us since 3.1. Plus, if they’re not close enough to implementing anything new that they feel comfortable adding it to the PTR, you’re probably not going to see anything major added in the next couple of weeks. I will also say that I can’t judge with accuracy whether a lot of these changes to other classes are big buffs or anything, there is at least more than one beneficial change to other classes that involve more than one talent tree. I agree with Blizzard that my class is the best one in the game, but c’mon, throw me a bone here, will ya?