27 September 2010 § 1 Comment
MMO-Champion reports that the Cataclysm release date may be pushed back to the beginning of December – and I hope this means that they will wait a bit more to push 4.0 on live servers as well. I really want to get a Heroic LK kill before 4.0: I thought we had enough time, given we got to Heroic LK in May, but apparently I was not counting to our usual summer period of slump, as well as several scheduling and connection problems that have severely reduced our ability to work on that encounter. I don’t think we’re very far, but honestly I don’t think we will get it this coming week either.
If I had to guess, now I would think that 4.0 will go live on Tuesday 26th October – after Blizzcon, and about a month before Cata releases. This is however a wild guess, not based on any inside source or private information, so not very reliable .
In other news, the same post on MMO-Champ lists the rewards for Justice and Valor Points. The interesting thing is that Justice Points will be redeemed for blue rewards only (boo!) but the spellpower weapons only require lvl 83 – if this stays, it will be nice to have those weapons before getting to max level. Also, the JP rewards cover all set slots, plus main hand, offhand, wand, neck and waist, which is not bad at all. I also appreciated a lot the fact that VP cover rings and trinkets – and that the two rings and the two trinkets can both be used by Disc Priests without too much of a stretch. In short, gearing for Heroics shouldn’t be too hard.
26 September 2010 § Leave a Comment
The Disc tree is clearly being fine tuned by the developers as we speak, which means that each build brings one or two changes – which often are annulled or compounded by the build after. I am going to suspend debating the talent trees for a (short) while, and I am sure the tree will stabilise soon and we can restart. So far, the changes are interesting and fun, but don’t change the gist of what I posted before: I will still go with an Archangel/Atonement build. As for the details of that… well, stay tuned!
24 September 2010 § 1 Comment
I just have to post, I’m too psyched up: after 4 months of wipes on the LK Heroic, we finally got to P3 – and we got there consistently, about 4 times within 10 attempts. We didn’t change anything, we just all…. clicked, and everything went so smoothly, it was unbelievable. Before tonight, we had some good attempts, but normally it was one good attempt in a sea of stupid wipes. We still have 26 attempts left (in itself a measure of our success, as normally one full night on LK would use a LOT more attempts than that), so we’ll probably extend on Wednesday, and once we’re done we’ll go play in Ulduar or Ruby Sanctum or something else. Stay tuned!
22 September 2010 § Leave a Comment
GC explained the rating decay thing a lot better yesterday, and you can find it all in a nice compilation on the new wowinsider.com here. It turns out, as it is often the case, that I was making a lot more noise than this change warranted – in fact, I kinda like where this is going, now that I understand it a bit more.
The “rating decay” will in fact be bosses being “higher level” in successive tiers of raiding. Inverted commas are needed in both cases, as you can plainly see. Ratings in fact will not decay at all: however, bosses being higher level will mean that you need bigger quantities of rating to give you 1% hit/crit/dodge/parry. Bosses will not actually be higher level (because they do not want to have crushing blows sneak back in, nor to worry about future expansions’ bosses having to start from even higher level than now), but will just behave that way for the sake of rating calculation (I have a feeling that this part however is not set in stone yet – they may still be deciding exactly how to make this work).
So, not that he needs my excuses, or that he’ll ever know I fretted in the first place, but yeah, I owe an apology to GC and Blizz devs. Once again, I am shown how panicking over supposed changes that are not in game yet is often pointless until we know more. In my defence, I think that sometimes community panic is good, at least to signal to GC and the blue posters what needs to be explained better – which is what he did – or what worries the community in general (see the RealID debate/debacle). So, I will keep trying not to panic, will probably fail a few times, and will apologise when I panic for the wrong reasons (and of course I will still chastise any other blog I see panicking, because what’s blogging without some hypocrisy?).
Now that that’s out of the way, this is introducing some interesting asymmetries. Asymmetry #1 is healers vs dps and tanks: healers will not suffer from this change at all, given our targets are not changing levels. Technically, Disc will suffer more than most because of Evangelism/Atonement, but the smite glyph for 18% hit should mostly take care of that – so we will only have a slightly lessened chance to crit. So, our crit chances on heals will keep increasing, while the dps and tanks will evolve through step functions, increasing during a raiding tier, then suddenly dropping at tier change and starting to increase again. I will still see a lot of Divine Aegis by the end of the expansion, and maybe become a more interesting Focus Magic target than other mages….
Asymmetry #2 is haste vs the other ratings: haste will not suffer from this change, because it is the only rating that doesn’t enter into the combat table, and so is not affected by enemy level. Haste was the stat that many classes were capping during ICC (disc priests, boomkins, resto druids…), so I guess the devs will have to watch that a bit more. I know they took away some of the haste talents, which should also help on that side.
All in all, I think the change as it is explained now makes a lot more sense. Now, if you will all excuse me, I have to see if I can find some more of that delicious humble pie…
20 September 2010 § 8 Comments
(Harr, harr, harr! See what I did with the title? Because blues are… and out of the blue is… never mind….)
Love it how Ghostcrawler sometimes slips a bomb just as an aside comment. Case in point: while discussing the eternal problem of hit rating and getting capped meaning you want to ignore everything with hit on it, he threw out this little tidbit:
3) Requiring higher combat ratings for additional content tiers. What hit caps you for 4.0 won’t be sufficient in 4.1, so the extra budge on the 4.1 gear will be helpful. (Source)
So if I understand correctly, every single new tier of content will automatically decay your ratings. To bring it to Wrath terms, there you are, decked in Naxx gear and finally getting your haste, crit (and hit, if you’re a dps) to decent levels, and suddenly Ulduar comes out, and going back to Naxx you find out that all your ratings now convert to a lot less percents – with the consequent loss in dps/hps. Thankfully, defence is not a rating anymore, so at least we won’t have tanks suddenly getting crit – the avoidance stats are still ratings though (dodge and parry), so tanks will be suffering more damage through that.
For all intents and purposes, every raiding tier will effectively partially reset gear. We are getting used to these gear resets as they happen at the beginning of any expansion, but frankly, there they have relatively little effect. There is new levelling to do, and very few people go back and seriously raid the old content. That is very much not true for raiding tiers within an expansion cycle. Unless you are in a top raiding guild, you are bound to have some overlap between tiers, or finish mopping up a tier while the other has come out. When ToC came out we were still going to Ulduar to kill Algalon; when ICC came out we still went to ToC (though mostly we did that because Lower Spire was way too easy, and nothing else was available). Now, if you run out of time, the top bosses will be even harder to kill as your gear will “degrade” simply because you reached the time limit.
Hopefully, this change will be implemented as a “Sunwell Radiance” thing: in other words, the new tier of raiding has a debuff in effect when you zone into the instance decaying your ratings. This will leave your effectiveness in earlier tiers unchanged, while allowing Blizzard to avoid the stat inflation. Even in this more benign version, I am just not sure I like the change. It feels like a clunky solution to something that could be solved by itemisation – both in terms of ilvls and of actual stat choice on the items.
There is no doubt that stats went out of control in Wrath: the spread of loot has been from ilvl 200 in Naxx to ilvl 277 in Heroic ICC 25. This compares to a spread of 115 (Attumen) to 164 (Kil’Jaeden) for BC, and 66 (Lucifron) to 92 (Kel’thuzad original) in Vanilla. In Wrath, we’ve had TEN separate tiers of loots (in ilvl: 200, 213, 219, 226, 232, 245, 251, 258, 264, 277), over only four tiers of raiding. Let’s assume Blizzard uses the same loot model in Cataclysm, letting Heroic loot be a full tier above normal (13 ilvl), while the normal loot of the tier above is only 6 ilvl above the Heroic loot of the tier below. We also know that the starting epics are going to be ilvl 359, so we should see the following progression (assuming 4 tiers of raid instances again):
- Tier 11: 359 normal, 372 heroic
- Tier 12: 378 normal, 391 heroic
- Tier 13: 397 normal, 410 heroic
- Tier 14: 416 normal, 429 heroic
Most importantly, Blizzard has always said that the biggest issue was that when they designed Wrath and the ratings conversions, they were not counting on Heroics mode at all (they really started in Ulduar, so post Wrath launch). The addition of an upper tier of gear for every raiding instance clearly inflated the numbers. This particular problem is gone: we know heroics are here to stay, and so we can plan the build up of the various ratings better, to make sure that by 429 we’re not having everyone hit against haste, hit and crit caps.
Of course, hit is a bit of weird stat in all this, because you want to be able to hit the cap in all tiers. Ghostcrawler’s concern is that if ratings don’t decay, then caster dps will wear all the same gear (the crit/haste/int/stamina gear, to be clear), because they can ignore hit. Except I really don’t understand this objection: the current model of itemisation suggests that a higher tier item with hit/crit/int/stamina will have higher values of all four stats than a lower tier item with the same stat. But couldn’t we have higher ilvl items where the increase in stats happen just in crit/int/stamina, leaving hit to be (roughly) the same? This way, caster dps still has an incentive to upgrade (more of the other stats), while still wanting to wear the same number of pieces of hit gear.
I remember when Sunwell came out, and several posts almost seemed to apologise for having to resort to Sunwell radiance (which, btw, was mostly a problem with bear tanks). A similar attitude seemed to pervade the introduction of Chill of the Throne in Icecrown. When framed that way, I had no problem accepting either debuff. But it seems to me that somewhere in the last eight months we went from “this is our last resort because something happened to screw our original plans”, to “this is a good plan”. It’s not – it feels clunky, and it artificially slows the character progression, when a slower build up of the ratings would get the same result much more elegantly. I am hoping that we can learn more about this soon, but this feels like a fairly bad idea so far.
20 September 2010 § Leave a Comment
I finally downloaded the PTR client, and went there to play a bit. Here’s a couple of tidbits and stuff that had escaped me:
1. The Prayer buffs are gone: Fort and Shadow Protection are automatically group wide, require no reagent, etc.
2. Mana has shot up, but the drinks have stayed the same. Tsark has 50k mana unbuffed, and drinks still restore 19.2k. A small suggestion: stock up on holiday food, whether the Harvest Nectar I mentioned in my last post, or the upcoming Halloween candies or the Winter Veil Eggnog. I cannot find new drinks up in the PTR, which makes sense as the post-80 content is not in, so I don’t know when new drinks become available. If anyone is on beta, please let us know.
3. Archangel/Evangelism: the dynamic is interesting, but it’s difficult to test it when not in a group or raid. Just to give an idea, my Smites are hitting (with 5 stacks of Evangelism) for around7k, critting for 10.5k. The healing buff of Archangel lasts for 18 secs, while the ability itself has a 15 secs cooldown. If you’re really good, and your tank is not taking too much damage, you could keep the Archangel buff up all the time. More realistically, it’s quite possible to weave your Smites in a way that keeps your stacks at 5, to be used whenever you need mana. This segues well into…
Gone is Improved Inner Fire, and Inner Sanctum, its replacement, seems to be wholly PvP now (damage reduction on Inner Fire, movement increase on Inner Will). Nice talent, and both of those effect could be situationally useful in PvE too (especially if you move slowly like me), but I can only see me getting it if we’re stuck on a specific fight that could use that (e.g. a Firefighter fight, or Sindragosa). So, I’m taking it out of my chosen spec.
Atonement got a BIG buff, and now heals for 120% of Smite. Damn you Blizzard, now it is actually interesting, as it means that while Smiting with a full 5 stacks of Evangelism (i.e. to keep them up), I get 8.4k heals, which are not much short of my Flash Heals – for a much lower mana cost (792 for Smite, 4k+ for Flash Heal), and a slightly higher cast time (about .5 secs, depending on haste). Atonement is also a smart heal (which is good), but doesn’t refresh Grace or Inspiration which is bad) – still, all in all it seems to be a viable choice even in a raid environment, especially with the appropriate targetoftarget or mouseover macros so you don’t waste time retargeting.
The other change is that we lost Improved Healing (good riddance to a boring passive buff) and gained Trinity - more spell haste, this time if we Smite three times in a row, which means we could even build up the stacks quicker if there is a lull in the fight. A sequence of Shield – Smite – Smite – Smite – Shield – Smite – (Shield) – Smite would probably be a nice way of still healing, while building up Evangelism stacks and Trinity buffs.
So my chosen build now looks like this. I would dearly love to get the second point in Trinity: so far, the only contenders for the axe I see are either Desperate Prayer, or Borrowed Time. I think this will need some serious testing…
16 September 2010 § Leave a Comment
Just a really quick note to point out something that may get lost, what with the recent news of currency conversions, the rumblings of Patch 4.0.1, etc. You may have noticed that Harvest Festival has started again on live realms. The bad news is that it doesn’t have anything this year, and so, although it was one of the first holidays implemented by Blizzard, and I think celebrating Grom Hellscream is interesting, there’s really nothing else to do. The good news is that our stats have become so inflated that Harvest Nectar may be a better water than anything else in the game (and the corresponding food for classes with a lot of health).
Basically, the top level mana drinks (Kungaloosh, Honeymint Tea and Mana Strudels alike) restore 19,200 mana. Harvest Nectar restores 2% of mana every sec for 30 secs, so 60% mana. So, if 60% of your total mana is more than 19,200, or in other words if your total mana is higher than 32,000, then you’re better off with the Harvest Nectar, and you should go stock up outside of Orgrimmar/Ironforge. Of course, Mana Strudels also increase your health at the same time, but that’s normally a minor concern. Equally of course, we don’t actually drink all that often these days. Still, I think it’s worth to carry some Nectars – at least until we can get our hands on some Eggnog!
14 September 2010 § 4 Comments
See what happens when I work on a post for too long? We get a new datamined beta patch on MMO-Champ, and the opening of the PTR servers, which means I need to rewrite half the post. Oh well, teaches me to post more quickly, I guess. So, without any further ado, let’s start!
In the last post, I split the Cataclysm Discipline tree into several different pieces, each of which was focusing on a different aspect of our roles or actions. In this post, it is time to put the pieces together into a coherent spec – or specs, as I will also look at several alternatives, because of course it is difficult to decide before we can see the numbers of (at the very least) the lvl 85 Heroic dungeons and the first tier of raiding (Tier 11, which from my understanding should be Bastion of Twilight, Blackwing Descent and Throne of the Four Winds).
So, this is the spec I came up with. Basically, and in reference to my last post, I took all the talents of the Frame, as well as the Heal piece. I skipped the two PvP/levelling talents, and then took Archangel/Evangelism, as well as Power Infusion, Pain Suppression and Desperate Prayer (please, let that “Requires Shadowform” be a mistake). This left me with a gap on the lower tiers, which I needed to get the later talents, so I took Twin Disciplines and Improved Inner Fire. Let’s examine the spec in more detail, moving from the talents I cannot see myself taking at all, to the talents that barely made the cut, to the talents I cannot do without.
The Ones in the Discard Pile
The PvP/Levelling Piece: I don’t think it comes as a surprise here, but Focused Will and Reflective Shields are clearly not talents made for me. They are fun talents, and useful, just not for the WoW I personally play. Unless the talents will change a lot, these two will stay out of my spec.
Atonement: Much as I want to give Archangel/Evangelism a go, I really cannot see this talent being any use beyond some 5-man action. The fact that it requires 3 talent points for 45% of the Smite also makes it very expensive for the result.
Inner Focus: I am really sad to see this talent go. In fact, it will be the first time Tsark will be without Inner Focus since November 2005. Back in those days, smartly using Inner Focus was the key to additional ticks of full mana regen, and the sign of a good priest. This stayed for BC, when Inner Focus, coupled with some nifty trinkets, could result in massive mana regen – again, if you knew how to time it. However, with the demise of O5SR regen, Inner Focus loses a lot of its appeal – and the fact that it only applies to the Heals and to PoH makes it even LESS interesting as a mana saving tool. There is still the crit portion, but 25% is a bit too low to make it worth a talent point.
Mental Agility: When it comes to filler points, I decided to go for the ones that cover throughput, and forego the mana regen (or mana saving, in this case) one. My rationale here is balance: I’m already getting Archangel/Evangelism, so I hope that can cover all my needs when it comes to mana. Ghostcrawler last Tuesday answered a post about healing saying that “you shouldn’t have huge mana problems in a normal dungeon”, so I’ll keep this choice and review it after a bit more experience.
The Ones that Just Made the Cut
Improved Healing: I am absolutely not sure about this talent. 10% seems sizeable, but I cannot find information about base stats at 85, so I cannot exactly see how much mana saved would that 10% be. To be honest, it’s quite likely this talent will be cut out from my final spec, in favour of either Mental Agility or filling out Improved Inner Fire and Empowered Healing. If I can handle the mana requirement of healing, then 1 additional point in Improved Inner Fire would give me about 150 more spellpower (Inner Fire at 85 gives 1080 spellpower), and I can get the 5% increase in Heals from the last point in Empowered Healing. If mana is tight, then the real question is whether I will save more with a 10% decrease in cost of my cast heals, or 8% for my instant spells – and this is an empirical question, which will need an empirical answer after some adjustment at 85.
Evangelism/Archangel: I *really* want to give this mechanism a go, mostly because it’s new and different. I agree with Derevka over at Tales of a Priest that this is far less appealing as a mechanic than Chakra. However, I’m resigned to the fact that this is what we will be getting for Cataclysm, and we may as well just make the best of it. Let’s look at some numbers. Evangelism stacks to 5, you gain stacks when you Smite, and each stack gives you increased damage and a mana reduction for Penance and for your damage spells. The stacks last 15 secs, so assume your Smite is around 1.8 sec cast time (2 secs with Divine Fury, minus your haste – I think 1.8 secs is actually fairly conservative, especially given we could become smart with Borrowed Time). So,it takes 9 secs to build the full stacks up, and 66% of your base mana (15% per Smite, but with a 6% discount for each successive stack of Evangelism). This gives you 30% reduction to your Penance, and the possibility, through another GCD, to gain 15% of your total mana. Mana wise, this is interesting if 66% of your base mana is lower than 15% of your total mana, which means that base mana should be lower than 22% of total mana for all this to be worth it.
Currently, at 80 and at the end of the expansion cycle, Tsark has 31k mana unbuffed, while a priest’s base mana at 80 is 3863 – amply above the cutoff point. In fact, with 3863 base mana the cutoff for Archangel to be worth it is just shy of 17k mana, which is a value that, if memory serves, I attained almost as soon as I hit 80. Now, this of course tells us little about Cataclysm: if anything, the values of intellect should be even higher in Cata, as spellpower is converted to Int in all gear except weapons – which suggests that yes, Archangel will net mana. UPDATE: Miss Medicina reports a base mana pool for level 85 priests of 20,586 – so if your total mana at 85 is around 81,546 Archangel will return mana at 5 stacks.
We still don’t know whether it’s worth it, though – because aside from the mana investment needed to get the mana return, we need to also invest time (the 9 secs + a GCD mentioned above, to build the 5 stacks and then use Archangel). Just to give another example, Hymn of Hope gives us 10% net mana (just above it) for 8 secs of time investment. Of course, it’s apples and oranges (HoH requires channelling, which is a lot more painful than finding 5 discrete 1.8 secs intervals; I’m also assuming the caster gets all three ticks on himself/herself, something that is not necessarily the case), but it does give an idea. Even more difficult to consider, I find it difficult to switch to dpsing mobs while healing – I generally lose track of my heal targets, and then need to catch up on the tank (though, hopefully, this is just a matter of practice).
If this does not work, I think there are multiple options. One possibility is to get Atonement. If the mana return is really worth it, and it just needs a little extra investment to make complete sense, then that minor heal may be the deal breaker. The heal will make the ramp up time for Evangelism slightly less of a waste, and thus could in the end make the whole experience worth it. I doubt this would ever be the case (especially if Atonement stays 3 points), but conceivably I could drop Improved Inner Fire or Empowered Healing to get Atonement. The other possibility is the one Blizzard doesn’t want to hear about – drop the whole “piece”, and instead use the three points in something else: Mental Agility or Inner Focus if mana is still an issue without Archangel, or Improved Inner Fire if it’s not.
The Ones I Cannot do Without
Divine Fury: The real issue is not so much getting this talent, but whether to max this or Empowered Healing out. So, .2 secs off Smite and all Heals, or 5% more healing? Both outcomes are throuput improvements, so it really is a mathematical question. Given HPS is given by Amount Healed/Time, and if we make our average heal 100 (for discussion’s sake) we have (100/2.5) = 40 vs (105/2.7)= 38.8 repeating, which means that Divine Fury is the way to go (and of course, this is independent of our actual amount healed, given that is the numerator of both values).
Strength of Souls: This talent looks more appealing every time I look at it. In fact, the talent could make it so we could Shield a tank every three heals, as opposed to every six-seven heals (depending on haste) – a clear increase in our effective healing that is nothing short of staggering.
I think all the other talents I chose are non-controversial, so I won’t go into detail on them all – of course, I’ll be happy to answer any questions that appear in the comments Now of course the question is what to cut for the levelling, and whether I want to actually get Reflective Shields until I get to 85. That, as they say, will remain a question for another day.
7 September 2010 § 2 Comments
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you may recall that I already made some comments about Discipline talents. Since then, of course, things have changed quite dramatically: most importantly, trees have been shortened to 31-points, in an effort to streamline them, “to make [talent] choices more meaningful”. In short, most, if not all, the considerations I made in that post are now inapplicable. That’s the nature of beta tests, so of course I’m not worried about that or resentful or anything. However, it does mean that I have the opportunity to talk once more about talents in Cataclysm. I will split the discussion in two parts. Today, I will look at the talents in the trees, trying to understand the philosophy behind them. In the next post (which shouldn’t be a long time coming, as it’s mostly written already), I’ll actually suggest possible builds.
Disclaimer: As I made abundantly clear, I don’t have a beta invite, so my analysis will be mostly based on what I can find on forums and various sites (which I will try to quote). However, I don’t feel this is a big disadvantage, as the focus of my analysis will be on the “endgame” (i.e. the game when you have spent 41 talent points), and in a raiding context. Also, in case it hasn’t been clear so far, this post will feature the Cataclysm talents – so if you don’t want to have that aspect of the game spoiled for you, you’re better off not reading. For the rest of the discussion, I will refer to the talent calculator posted by MMO Champion, which you can find here.
I want to suggest that speccing Discipline is a bit like a puzzle: you have different pieces (talents or groups of talents), and you need to put them all together into something that is vaguely coherent. So, in this post I will examine what the pieces of the puzzles are.
Tier 1: Improved PW:S (2 pts)
Tier 2: Soul Warding (3 pts)
Tier 4: Rapture (3 pts), Borrowed Time (3 pts)
Tier 5: Divine Aegis (3 pts)
Tier 7: Power Word: Barrier (1 pt)
All these talents are no brainers, and should be present in any Disc spec. They effectively provide you with the frame onto which you can attach the other pieces of your puzzle spec. They improve the effectiveness of PW:S, which is our current bread-and-butter, and will remain to be if we judge by the support it still receives in the talent trees. A separate word for Power Word: Barrier. Clearly, I included it in the skeleton spec, because it would be stupid not to want the 31-pt talent (as several blue posters have stated). However, it is disparaging to see that NONE of the previous talents apply to PW:B: not Soul Warding, not Improved PW:S, not Rapture. Given that none of those talents are strictly prerequisite, it would be nice to actually have more interactions between talents – and I don’t think it’s too much of a stretch to have some or all of the earlier time work with PW:B too.
The Heal Piece
(or, what to do in-between Shields)
Tier 3: Renewed Hope (2 pts)
Tier 5: Strength of Souls (2 pts)
Tier 6: Grace (2 pts)
Tier 1 Holy: Empowered Healing (3 pts), Divine Fury (3 pts)
Tier 2 Holy: Improved Healing (2 pts), Inspiration (2 pts)
This second set of talents boosts our Heal, Flash Heal and Greater Heal spells (respectively the workhorse spell, the fast-and-expensive spell, and the fat-slow-and-expensive spell). Strength of Souls is particularly interesting, because it plays off very well with PW:S. I can see this talent alone pushing a lot of shield botters towards a more balanced style of healing. You will note I have not looked at Improved Renew: I am assuming that Blizzard will balance the numbers to push us towards Heals, given that some of the Renew talents are unaccessible for Disc (e.g. Divine Touch). Of course, all this has to be confirmed by some actual numbers, for which we will have to wait. Also, the Heals are spammable and thus could be used in a tank healing situation: Renew is not, which makes it a lot less interesting as a spell for 10-man raiders.
The Archangel/Atonement Piece
(Mah smites gimme mana!)
Tier 2: Evangelism (2 pts), Archangel (1 pt)
Tier 3: Atonement (3 pts)
These three talents are the main addition to our tree in Cataclysm. They introduce a new mechanic, one where we basically use our Smites to gain the Evangelism buff (and partly to heal someone with Atonement) and then use Archangel to get mana back or to get a boost in healing for a short period of time. The two mechanics are separate, of course: Atonement looks fun for 5-mans, but I really cannot see it getting a lot of use in raids; Evangelism/Archangel instead has the potential to become another cooldown, and I can imagine a lot of situations when it may turn out to be very useful. The critical variable here is how important/valuable mana regen really is: does it make sense to sink 3 talent points into mana regen? Is the mana regen from Archangel enough to make it worth? The answers to these questions depend both from gear (how much spirit will we have?), mechanics (how much mana will that spirit give us? What about replenishment?) and, of course, encounter tuning (are we expected to heal for long periods of time?).
(I can haz moar spellz?)
Tier 3: Power Infusion (1 pt), Inner Focus (1 pt)
Tier 5: Pain Suppression (1 pt)
Tier 2 Holy: Desperate Prayer (1 pt)
The talents in this piece have little in common with each other, save the fact that they all give a new ability. Not much to say about Pain Suppression (you’d be certifiably mad not to take it), Power Infusion (make your dps happy, spec PI!) and Desperate Prayer (I cannot understand people who don’t take this talent – it’s saved me more times than I care to remember). Inner Focus makes me weep: the cataclysm version only covers very few spells (the three basic heals and PoH), which is a severe nerf of the talent (which used to be “any holy spell”). I think 95% of all healing priests currently have IF macroed to their Divine Hymn, as the ultimate raid “oh shit” button (with extra goodness for Disc, as crits give our targets more Aegis) Not having that, and not being allowed to use it for Penance either, will be a fairly big nerf. EDIT: And I just noticed that Inner Focus has a 6% base mana cost – which I hope is a mistake, or it reduces the utility of IF even further. EDIT AGAIN: The latest build took away the mana cost for Inner Focus, so that was clearly a mistake.
In a similar vein, I see that Desperate Prayer requires… Shadowform! I’m going to assume that’s a mistake (either of the tooltip or of MMO Champ), because it would be really bad otherwise.
The Levelling/PvP Piece
(We face melt through healing)
Tier 4: Reflective Shields (2 pts)
Tier 6: Focused Will (2 pts)
No changes in Reflective Shields, which remains an awesome talent for levelling or pvp, but really not very interesting in a PvE endgame situation. Focused Will loses its crit portion, so becomes a pure PvP talent.
The Filler Piece
(Not all talents can be fun)
Tier 1: Twin Disciplines (3 pts), Mental Agility (3 pts)
Tier 2: Improved Inner Fire (3 pts)
As promised, we still have some passive talents – and equally as promised they are in the lower tiers, where they can be accessed by other specs too. One minor gripe: Blizzard has been moving away from talents that modify one single ability, as a partial compensation for the fact that we have a lot less talents. It would be nice if Imp Inner Fire somehow improved also Inner Will (and call the talent Inner Strength?), as a way to increase its domain a bit. EDIT: And right on cue, Inner Sanctum now increases the speed boost of Inner Will, and Inner Fire reduces the spell damage taken.
So there we have it: one frame and five additional pieces, which we can combine in any ways we want – provided we can manage to use only 41 points. One thing I want to mention is that the priest talents indeed seem to respond to the designers’ intentions: not many passive talents, all in the lower tiers; talents that seem to synergise well with each other, and thus create interesting interactions and potentially fun gameplay.
That’s all for now: see you in a few days for the actual choice of specs!