So yesterday some hard details of 3.1 finally began to emerge and was immediately devoured by the entirety of the blogosphere. Debates raged and much pontification was had at great length over the huge amount of changes being wrought upon our cherished game. Amongst the swirling mass of opinions and hated math sat Dueg, unafraid of the tempest. “No sir,” I said defiantly, “I have written my post on Heal Sniping, and I’m going to publish it, dammit!” So he did, and lo, there was much rejoicing.
But I did still read up on what was going on and like everyone else, kept refreshing different sites to read what others thought about the changes. If you’re still unfamiliar with the patch notes, btw, MMO-Champion has excellent coverage for the full patch and you can see Matt Low of World of Matticus fame’s full write up and opinions here. So let me give you the run down of what we’re seeing in this crazy patch.
First, general news of interest:
Dual specs – So it appears Dual Specs will be available at level 40 instead of 80 and will cost 1000 gold in order to gain the ability to switch. It has been announced that the reagent component was removed and will be as simple as clicking a button with a 5 second cast time. Will not be castable in Battlegrounds, Arena Matches or general Combat. Wow. That is a complete reversal from how I thought this would be implemented. Making things easier is always appreciated, but I believe that Blizzard is doing one of two things here. Either they’re planning on eventually having content where it will be necessary to switch specs for specific boss fights (such as a dps race where you have to have one tank, one healer and 23 dps or you’ll wipe) which which will force raiders to actively seek off spec items. Or they’re simply bowing to pressure from the players and saying “here you go guys, it’s on the house.”
Ghetto-hearthing removed – Ah well, fun while it lasted.
Equipment Manager – From what I’m seeing, it looks like you can enable this function, then save what armor you’re currently wearing as your set. You then make a macro button for that saved set in order to switch back and forth with the click of a button. You can have up to 16 saved sets. I’m pretty sure you still have to carry it all around though.
Noble Garden revamped – Apparently they’re shaking it up to bring it more in line with the other holidays. I’ve never participated in this one, so I’m not sure how to react.
Legendary Mace added to the game – Apparently there will be a new mace weapon in the game usable by all classes that can wield a one handed mace and are healers. This intrigues me quite so. It appears it will be a matter of collecting 40 shards and then beginning a quest line. Very exciting news there,
Argent Tournament Event added to game – With a new mounted combat system and the ability to earn titles based on your home city and new pets and tabards, this promises to be a hot spot as soon as the patch goes live.
General priest changes:
Abolish Disease now ticks every three instead of five seconds and now only lasts 12 seconds. Dueg stamp of approval, it was sometimes more worthwhile to just recast Abolish Disease instead of just waiting for the next tick. This will change that.
Divine Spirit now trainable at level 31. Hellz to the yes.
Holy Nova’s mana cast reduced approximately 20%. Interesting. This change makes me consider glyphing to give it a 40% bonus. Will make it an extremely decent instant cast replacement for Prayer of Healing as my group only spell.
Hymn of Hope removed from game. But… why?
Prayer of Healing now heals the targeted player’s group. This change makes this a very powerful raid healing spell and I know will bring it into my regular rotation. Coupled with the changes to Serendipity, I believe you will see this spell cast much more often in raids.
Shadow Fiend’s Health and mana regen increased blah blah blah… Look, I’m gonna say this right now, I have absolutely no idea why everyone is complaining about their shadow fiend dyeing all the time. I never have problems with mine dying quickly, even when it’s fighting a mob directly. It’s a little stupid, sure, but it seems just fine to me. But for those who do have this problem, I suppose this will make your fiend much more survivable.
Now let’s see what’s going on with changes to Holy Spec:
Circle of Healing increased by 40% – This is really really nice. Specifically to make up for the 6 second cooldown, but a buff to the healing amount of any spell is always fan-freaking-tastic.
Holy Concentration changed and now provides 16/32/50% bonus to mana regen for 8 seconds after every critical flash, greater or binding heal, Improved Holy Concentration removed. This tells me that Blizzard does not want it to be easy for us to dance the 5 second rule anymore. By removing the chance to get free heals, they’ve made it so the only way for us to slide into the 5 second rule while still healing is with Surge of Light or Inner Focus. We won’t spontaneously get the option anymore. Matt did point out that if you have crit stacked, you might have this up almost non stop during fights.
New Talent: Empowered Renew – Your renew spells are upped 5/10/15% and will give the target an initial heal of 5/10/15% of the total healed amount. At tier 9, it looks like this will replace Improved Holy Concentration. I look at this as basically making renew a minor instant heal spells for holy priests that will continue to tick over time. I think this change might just convinced me to glyph out of renew as it now has a little extra oomph on it’s own…
Serendipity changed: Each flash or binding heal you cast will reduce the cast time of your next greater heal or prayer of healing by 6/12/20%. Stacks up to three times and lasts 20 seconds. Couple this with the change to PoH allowing it to be cast on any targeted group and this will make the spell about twice as useful in heavy raid damage situation. I think you will see an increase in greater heal usage because of this, but don’t expect it to become a priest’s new favorite spell. It’s a blow to our mana efficiency though, and not a small one at that.
Test of Faith will no longer increase crit chance but will instead provide a healing bonus of 4/8/12% up from 2/4/6%. Meh, would’ve been nice to have the crit chance because of it’s tie ins with our mana efficiency now, but I’ll probably still pick this talent up either way.
And finally, new holy glyphs:
Glyph of Guardian Spirit – if your guardian spirit lasts till full without being triggered, it’s cooldown timer will be reset to one minute. If you regularly need to have this available every minute then you have other problems.
Glyph of Hymn of Hope – Your hymn of hope now provides 3 times as much mana but cast time is cut in half. Ok, I get it, you give us this awesome ass glyph to show us that we could have the spell ten times cooler, but just kidding, you’re actually taking it away. Was it something we said?
I’m very very curious to see how all of this plays out when it actually goes live. Until then, of course, all of this is subject to change at any time for any reason so take it with a grain of salt. If you’re curious about discipline priest changes, Amber from I Like Bubbles has an excellent write up with opinion that can be found here. Patch 3.1 promises to be a turning point for end game raiding and I, for one, can’t wait to see it go live.