Tuesday, March 27, 2012

MoP Beta Class Changes

It's my favorite time of the year - beta time! That's basically like Christmas in the WoW-world, with each news of changes is like opening presents - some you love, some are like those knitted socks you get from grandma each year. I haven't signed up to check out the beta myself, I never do, but I love reading about all the changes that are made. I love pondering about why Blizzard do the changes they do, so eventhough things are far from definite and probably will change a lot more before we actually take our first steps into Panda-land, there are few things I enjoy more than checking out what Blizzard has in store for us priests.

But no, I am not going to comment on the Tier 14 preview, because I am hoping it will change a lot before that goes live. It's not as bad as tier 11, but horns? Not sure if want. Ok, so I did some commenting on the Tier 14 preview.


What's up with the spell cost nerfs?

First thing I notice is that a butt-load of our spells have gotten their mana cost severely nerfed - we're not talking just a few percentages here but some serious drops, just look at this;

Power Word: Shield: Now costs 6% of base mana, down from 34%.

or this one;

Holy Word: Sanctuary: Now costs 7% base mana, down from 44%.

At a first glance I thought this was true for most casters, it seemed like both dps and healer alike had gotten an overall reduction to their spell costs, but then I saw that they had done the opposite to holydins by increasing the cost for a lot of their spells. For priests however, we are looking at a nerf leaving the mana cost for most of our spells at roughly one fifth of what they are now. It of course makes me wonder - why?

My first thought was that Blizzard might do something to mana regen. I might even be wild and crazy enough to think they're going to remove mana regen all together, leaving us with an -actual- mana pool, similar to what we had back in Vanilla (when mana regen only existed out of casting, and was quite limited even then). It would simplify things, and maybe Blizzard want to give us more "mana returning" skills like Rapture and Revitalize to work with instead. It would be a huge change to healing of course, but in all honesty I really enjoy the idea of such a mana using system. As a discipline priest I am already basically in that system, relying far more on mana returns like Shadowfiend and Rapture than combat regen. Combat regen isn't an interesting feature if you ask me, more like a necessary evil (similar to getting hit/expertise as melee). It is passive and revolves around balancing gear rather than making interesting choices mid combat (should I use Hymn of Hope now or save it? Should I stack my mana return with that of the shamans or not?). Reducing the cooldown on Shadowfiend points in this direction as well. Although I don't see how they could do something similar with hit/expertise, I would welcome a change to the current mana regen system.

But I am just speculating wildly of course, in reality these mana changes probably has nothing to do with that. It's a shame really.

So what else is there?
Let's look at some of the other changes...

"Vow of Unity New. You create a Vow of Unity with a friendly target for 15 sec. Whenever one of you receives healing, the other is healed for the same amount. Whenever one of you takes damage, % of the damage is redirected to the other over 6 sec. Vow of Unity cannot be cast on Tank specialized players. Instant, 2 min cooldown."

This is now specified to not be castable on tanks, which basically turns it into a pvp talent. Unless raids will be completely different in MoP, making dpsers more of tanks than they are today, I don't see any reason to use this in raids when compared to the options in this talent tier.

"From Darkness, Comes Light: New. Surge of Light - You have a 15% chance when you Smite, Heal, Flash Heal, Binding Heal or Greater Heal to cause your next Flash Heal to be instant cast and have no mana cost. Surge of Darkness - You have a 20% chance when you deal damage with Vampiric Touch to cause your next Mind Spike to be instant and not extinguish your Shadow damage-over-time effects from the target."

More than doubling the proc chance of Surge of Light might get it back in from the cold. It will still be far from as overpowered as it was in Wrath, but that is acceptable because no one likes overpowered skills except the wielder (which was me, nyahahaha!). The shadow priest portion of this talent looks interesting too, making Mind Spike more part of the rotation than it has now.

"Archangel: Archangel (Evangelism) Consumes your Evangelism, increasing your healing done by 5% for each Evangelism consumed for 18 sec. 30 sec cooldown. Dark Archangel (Dark Evangelism)Increases the damage done by your Mind Flay, Mind Spike, Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death by 25% for 18 sec. 90 sec cooldown."

Archangel gets a nice buff (25% extra healing instead of 15%) and I am glad to see that Blizzard don't intend on scrapping the idea of dps-healing in MoP. It's definitely a concept I like, eventhough you probably all know by now I was somewhat disappointed by the end result. I just wish it was a little more practical and made more of a difference than it does, but on the other hand I am glad that I'm not forced to spec into it - bitches will always be complaining about something.

"Angelic Bulwark: New. Anytime a damaging attack brings you below 30% health, you gain an absorption shield equal to 20% of your total health lasting for until cancelled. This effect cannot occur more than once every 90 sec."

When I first saw this talent, it increased the effectiviness on shields cast on yourself by 30%. I liked that idea, I am not too sure about this one. I am looking at it and thinking "lasts until cancelled = good. Procs after the damage has been done = bad". Most of the time when you want some way to prevent damage, you want exactly that - something that prevents damage. I am not sure how useful a skill that protects me after I have been taking shitloads of damage will be, unless we are looking at continuous heavy aoe which isn't uncommon but still rarer than that huge blast (that might of course change in MoP raids). The way it works now, it looks more like a pvp talent than a raid talent to me. Yeah it would protect me from dying after that big blast, but I would rather have something that protected me from that big blast to begin with.

"Spectral Guise: New. Your shadow blurs into the darkness, leaving your true form behind. As a shadow you are invisible, but remain in combat. Lasts 6 sec or until your true form is hit by 3 direct attacks. 30 sec cooldown, Instant cast."

This could've had so much potential! As I understand it, it basically works by giving you a buff that will "remove" the damage of the next three incoming direct attacks. Direct being the keyword. If only it would've worked with any attacks, which on the other hand probably would've made it OP. Right now this too looks more like a pvp talent, since I don't think priests will be taking much more direct damage in pve in MoP than they have been for the last 7 years.

There is also a possibility that this rather works like a version of stealth, in which any damage done to your "true self" still is directed to you only you'd be able to move about without anyone actually knowing where you are meanwhile. But yet again, I can't see how that would be of much use in PvE.

"Vampiric Dominance: When you deal damage or healing, 15% of the amount is healed to up to 3 low-health nearby allies. 40 yd range. "

This talent still looks the same as it did when I first saw it back in November. As a discipline priest I definitely welcome the possibility of some passive off-healing, since that is one of our weakness at the moment, and I can only hope that this makes it all the way to live and without being too much nerfed.

"Inner Focus: No longer works with Binding Heal."

Aww. I wonder why. No, I really do, was it too good?

"Dispel Magic: Now removes all Magic and Disease effects."

Finally priests don't have to be the last healer around having to use different spells to remove different debuffs. Opens up one more slot on my keybinds, yay!

"Spirit Shell: New. Creates an absorption shield on the target for [5231 + 50.3% of SP] damage lasting 8 sec. When the shield expires, the target is healed for 80% of the remaining amount. 40 yd range, 2% of base mana, 2.5 sec cast."

Holy doesn't seem to be getting anything new, or any changes at all basically, at the moment. No change there, Blizzard seem either very content with the way holy works or they just happen to be last on the list of a work through. Discipline is looking at this baby however, Spirit Shell, which basically is something as awesome as a shield and a heal in one. I am definitely looking forward to using this one, and I wonder how I didn't think about this combo before myself? The closest we've been is the healing glyph on PWS, but I definitely like the idea of this one. I recall that the fact that shields don't actually heal being one of the major issues I had when healing as a lowbie discipline in early Cataclysm. Absorbtion effects are really good, and in a raid I enjoy the fact of being the "preventer" while my fellow healers are the "repairers", but this way we will be able to do a little bit of both even better than we already have.

"Vampiric Embrace: Now has a 3 min cooldown. Fills you with the embrace of Shadow energy, causing you and your allies to be healed for 50% of any single-target Shadow spell damage you deal, split evenly between them. Lasts 15 sec."

I don't normally say much about shadow skills, simply because I play shadow priest so rarely (and poorly), but this looks like a really interesting change to VE, changing one of the longest lasting spriest skills into what could be a really handy raid heal cooldown. I am glad to see spriest being given something to help the raid with because I wasn't very happy with how VE was working. Making it stronger would make it too good, making it weaker (or the way it was) didn't make it very useful at all. Timed well, this could be a good cooldown indeed.

But as always, we can expect things to change a lot and often when there's a beta. And that is half the fun.


  1. The mana cost reductions are because the existing mana costs are based on total mana, which is much higher than base mana (since intellect on gear increases total mana).

    In MoP, base mana and total mana will be the same, since intellect won't increase the mana pool. Therefore, a Power Word: Shield costing 34% base mana means one shield would eat up one third of our entire mana pool...no matter what gear we have. Obviously, that would be crazy! :)

    I actually like in-combat regen. I like the idea of more gearing questions (do I need better regen or should I gear for more throughput) and making mana cooldown choices during fights.

    No in-combat regen worked in Vanilla, if I recall correctly, because you could get out of combat and healers actually rotated who was healing and who was out of combat and regenning. I don't think I like that model better.

  2. The difference between shamans/druids/paladins and priests, is that the first 3 have much lower base mana (probably to ensure that the melee specs aren't swimming in the stuff). When you choose Resto/Holy or Resto spec you then get your mana boosted by 400 percent. However overall, spell costs should work out very similar from healing spec to healing spec.

    I can't wait to get my hands on Spectral Guise to try it out. Not sure that I can imagine any uses for it in PvE, apart from playing with dire tanks whilst levelling and running five mans. Will be interesting to see if that's the case.

  3. I think Minstrel hit the nail on the head. It does appear they will be going through with the INT being a regen stat and not a mana pool size stat in MoP. So much for mana pool epeen! :(

    I am glad Surge of Light is being reworked. It was always a nice talent but didn't seem to proc when you really needed it to.

    Vow of Unity looks situationally useful in PvE. The first thing I thought of is Heroic Ultraxian when 2 DPS have to eat the Hour of Twilight. I could see it being a survival CD for that type of event.

    Spirit Shell really looks to be more than it seems. Disc Mastery is all about absorption increases but the tooltip for Spirit Shell makes no mention of Mastery but instead goes off of Spellpower. Could we be getting a change to our Mastery?

    1. @Tobeume, I guess you meant "Int being a throughput stat and not a mana pool and regen stat".

      Anyway, my guess is the same - most mages', priests' and locks' spell cost are decreased to 20% which would match druid, paladin and shaman casters' mana pool increase to 500%.

      Regarding Spirit shell, I don't understand your comment. PW:S goes off of SP in Cata and is affected by Mastery so Spirit Shell might be the same.