Preparing For 4.0.6
The official patch notes were released for 4.0.6, the first sizable patch of this expansion and I figured I would cover the changes that would most affect holy priests and what they could possibly mean for us, if and when they make it to Live. First up, let’s talk about some things that may be considered more general changes, but that could still affect you and why.
* Level 85 players can now choose any normal dungeon via the Dungeon Finder. Choosing Random Dungeon will still not add these lower-level dungeons into the rotation.
I like this change, because I feel that being able to queue up for dungeons that might be lower level than you are can serve as a great way to practice healing. This is especially true if you used a DPS spec to level (which I hope you did) and may not have spent your entire journey from 80 – 85 doing any sort of real healing. Also, if you happened to have missed some upgrades along the way to 85 that could be preventing you from being as ready as you would like, you can now go back and queue for those specific dungeons and get the pieces that you need.
* The Haste display on the Character Info window (C) now shows the total haste percentage, rather than only haste from haste rating.
This will be particularly useful, because the Haste that you get from putting points into Darkness would not show up on your character sheet. This could be misleading or confusing when trying to determine how close you were to reaching the first break point for Haste which is 12.50%. I wonder if this will also include the Haste you could also receive from raid buffs. For example, those you would receive by having a moonkin, shadow priest or shaman along with you.
* Darkmoon Card: Tsunami now properly procs Giant Wave when basic heal-over-time spells are cast.
At one point, it was confirmed that Darkmoon Card: Tsunami was a terrible choice for resto druids, because of this. Renew was also included as a spell that would not cause you to gain stacks from this trinket. With this change, Renew will again have a chance to give you stacks of Spirit. As an aside, it seems that the trinket procs off the number of people you heal versus the number of heals that you cast. This means that our numerous AOE heals work well, particularly Circle of Healing, Holy Word: Sanctuary and Prayer of Healing. There is speculation about Divine Hymn and Prayer of Mending not generating any stacks, though I haven’t been able to confirm this personally or find enough evidence to really support that.
Now, let’s discuss the things that are exclusively aimed at holy priests and what exactly they might mean for us.
* The mana cost of Power Word: Fortitude has been reduced by approximately 68%, making it roughly equal to the cost of Mark of the Wild.
* The mana cost of Shadow Protection has been reduced by approximately 65%, making it roughly equal to the cost of Mark of the Wild.
Both good things. This saves you mana at the beginning of a pull and can also save you mana if someone receives a battle res or uses their Soulstone and they need to be re-buffed on the fly.
* The mana cost of Power Word: Shield has been increased by approximately 31%, but its effect has been increased by 208%.
Personally, I have never had a problem using spells with high mana costs, if I feel that I am getting as much as I can out of them. Holy priests have never relied too heavily on shields, except when tank healing. This is where I feel this change will be most noticed. Keeping a shield on the tank constantly is important and this will make sure that your shield is much stronger and able to absorb more damage. I think you would only notice the increase in mana cost if you were spamming shields on multiple people, which nobody should be doing (discipline or otherwise) at this point.
* The mana cost of Renew has been reduced by 24%.
Renew still has use, just not in the blanketing capacity that it used to. As I may have mentioned before, I use Renew as more of a single target heal in raids. If I see three or more members of a party or group taking damage and I feel they will be in range of each other to benefit from a Prayer of Healing, I will use that. If I see that three or more members of the raid are taking damage and they could be close enough to each other to benefit from Circle of Healing, I will go with that. If it happens to be that one or two random people took some damage and you think the other two spells might be overkill then Renew would be your ideal choice.
I like that the cost of Renew went down and I think it’s a good thing, as long as it doesn’t continue and that Blizzard doesn’t go back on their word that they want us to stay away from the Renew blanketing style of healing. I couldn’t help but be apprehensive about it when I first saw this change and then when I saw that Rejuvenation was having its mana cost lowered, too. I like the holy priest style of healing as it is right now and would hate to see it fall back into that old model that we all got way too comfortable using and that helped promote a lot of the bad habits we had to unlearn before we could go forward and heal the way we do now.
* Chakra now lasts 1 minute, up from 30 seconds.
I feel like something is brewing with Chakra and I’m not sure what it is. I know that many priests have been very vocal about wanting Chakra to be a permanent stance, like that of a warrior or something that could be toggled, like a paladin aura. I can’t say that I’m a fan of that or that I agree with those ideas. I like Chakra the way that it is now. I don’t feel it’s that difficult to manage or keep up with. Blizzard has been very clear that they want holy priests to spend most of their time, if not all of their time in a Chakra state and I feel this change supports that.
With Chakra having a 1 minute base duration, it’s safe to say that points in State of Mind are no longer needed. That frees up a talent point or two to place in other talents. The problem is that there aren’t too many other talents that are that wonderful. If you had to put the points somewhere I would suggest Spirit of Redemption or the next talent or ability we are going to discuss.
* Desperate Prayer now heals the priest for 30% of their total health, up from a very subpar value.
I became a recent convert to Desperate Prayer and am so glad that I took it. This spell can save your ass. First off, it does not cost mana to use and it’s instant cast. You can use it on the run. You can use it in the air. It has a chance to crit and it procs our Mastery, so we get a little heal over time on ourselves to go along with it. As of right now, mine heals for a little over 9500 on average. With 120K hit points, that’s not very much. With this change, my Desperate Prayer would instead heal for at least 36K. That’s a huge increase! If this doesn’t motivate you to take Desperate Prayer, I don’t know what will!
* Holy Concentration now increases the amount of mana regeneration from Spirit while in combat by an additional 15/30%, down from 20/40%.
This is a minor change, but I would certainly not call this a nerf. We have been doing fine for mana, maybe a little too fine. Since I started 25 man raids with my guild, I noticed that I haven’t had to use a potion at all. My fellow priests and I are coordinating our Hymn of Hope usage. We use Shadowfiend at the right time. We manage our mana really well. Not to mention that we coordinate things with our resto shaman and the Mana Tide Totem that they bring, among other forms of regaining mana. I think increasing our mana regen that much was meant to get priests over the initial hurdle of Heroics and now it can sort of be toned down, now that we’re starting to raid and don’t have to rely on just ourselves to keep our mana pools full.
* Holy Word: Chastise now has a 30 second cooldown, up from 25. In addition, it properly breaks from damage.
Were priests seriously using this spell that much where it was that much of a concern? This is probably a PVP change, I hope.
* Lightwell’s health has been increased by 50% (for PVP purposes).
I admit that I didn’t even know my Lightwell had hit points until I read about this change. Currently, mine has 27,397 health. With this change, it would increase to a little over 41K. That’s a big difference!
* Serendipity now has Spell Alert and Floating Combat Text feedback support.
With everything else going on in a raid environment, this could be helpful to remind you that you have a stack or two of Serendipity up, in case you run into an emergency and need to do what I call a Serenity bomb. This could be either two Binding Heals and/or Flash Heals, followed by a Greater Heal or a Prayer of Healing. This is a helpful reminder that you have this option available to you, if you don’t already use addons or mods that would remind you otherwise.
* Surge of Light can now also proc from Flash Heal and Greater Heal and can now also critically heal.
Again, this a change and a talent that really shines when tank healing. I wonder if the Flash Heal that you get from the proc can in turn have a chance to proc another Flash Heal. That would be really cool if it worked like that and could increase the value of this talent even more. As it stands, I don’t use Flash Heal and Greater Heal too often when tank healing. I find that I can manage to keep my tank up with a shield, Renew, Prayer of Mending, Heal and Holy Word: Serenity, while in Chakra: Serenity. I do use the occasional Flash Heal for spike damage and will drop a Serendipity bomb if things get too out of hand (Flash Heal x 2 and then a Greater Heal), but not nearly as much as I use just plain Heal. Still, having a chance to proc this talent off of four spells rather than two (if you include Smite) sounds a lot better to me.
Last but not least, a few glyph changes, as well.
* Glyph of Pain Suppression has been renamed Glyph of Desperation and now allows Guardian Spirit to be cast while stunned, in addition to Pain Suppression.
I haven’t run into too many encounters where I can say that being stunned prevented me from using Guardian Spirit. I’m inclined to say that this a PVP change, but I could be wrong. Major glyphs for holy priests tend to fall on the lackluster side, as is. I know right now I’m using Glyph of Circle of Healing, Dispel Magic and Mass Dispel. Obviously, I have room for more beneficial ones, if they should pop up. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for situations in upcoming raids where I feel this one could be useful and see if it makes the cut.
* Glyph of Spirit of Redemption has been converted into Glyph of Prayer of Mending, which increases the healing done by the first charge of Prayer of Mending by 60%.
Another major glyph that could easily replace some less useful or interesting ones that we have to choose from. Prayer of Mending should still always be used off cooldown and you could notice an increase in healing output with this glyph. I would strongly consider replacing one of the two that I’m not too fond of for this one and you should, too.
Overall, I’m happy about the changes coming in 4.0.6. I don’t feel that we have anything to worry about, compared to how some other classes may feel about their changes. I still believe that we as holy priests are in a very good place and that we should recognize that and keep doing what we’re doing. How do you feel about these changes or what changes would you like to see made?
Tagged as Blue Posts, change, Holy Priest + Categorized as Holy Priest