Many of the changes that went live in the beta build last night are being reverted or modified. The nerfbat won’t be hitting us as hard as we think. However, I am now of the theory that Blizzard is trying to eradicate the priest populace by stress-induced heart failure from all this zany buffing/nerfing/reworking (yes, I know it is happening to everyone, not just priests. I’m being a bit cheeky).
Interesting “Blue” Commentary
First off, I would just like to point our a comment Koraa (class developer) made about the intended focus of the three priest talent trees:
Discipline – About damage mitigation, utility and single target HPS. It’s intended to be a better tank healer.
Holy – Good single target healer, but more healing utility. Intended to be the AOE healer, or the healer than can react to any situation. Only spec of a class that has an on demand HoT, AOE, Lightwell which players can click to heal themselves, a flash heal, a large greater heal.
Shadow – Obviously a single target sustained DPS, with Mind Sear now should be one of the strongest AOE classes.
Interesting to see shadow is aimed at being “strong” AoE. I’ll believe it when I see it. A lot of work remains in the discipline tree to meet the aim of “tank healer.” I like the idea of holy being the healer that can “react to any situation.”
A lot of the changes that went up in the beta build last night left priests foaming at the mouth. There was a lot of developer commentary on the forums in response to that.
If we broke priests, if we hit them too hard, or made them not fun to play, we’ll fix it.
Damn straight you better fix it. All these Death Knights aren’t going to be healing themselves, are they? (Oh god, they won’t be, right?)
Ghostcrawler on the priest forums:
There is no separate balance team. These changes were all made by the consensus of the class designers. We made a big push to try and balance the power of each talent and spell, which means changing those that seemed over-budgeted or too powerful. I am almost certain that in some cases we took things too far.
Too far? Can’t argue with that statement!
Ghostcrawler, later in the day, expands on how the changes were not completely informed:
In fact, very little actual real world data went into these changes. We did not sit down and compare Holy healing or Shadow damage to other classes and decide that those horrible, horrible priests needed to be taken down a notch. Once we have more numbers (A LOT more numbers), we’ll be in a better position to say wow, Holy really can’t keep up with the druids, or Disc really isn’t doing anything different in raids than they used to.
So, initially Ghostcrawler stated that they: “made a big push to try and balance the power of each talent and spell” but later states that “little […] data went into these changes” and “we did not sit down and compare [classes/specs against others].”
More explanation from Ghostcrawler:
We took a look at a lot of the talents, compared them to other talents, and asked ourselves if some of them were doing too many different things, were designed in a way that was always going to be buggy to implement, were confusing, were dumb, or were flat overpowered for their cost.
So, they are comparing talents from one class to talents from another class, but not how they are being utilized by the different classes/specs? This is a bottom-up approach that should have been done much earlier in the beta, IMHO. If you want to balance the talents and how they are budgeted, then you should have done that first, then relied on beta testing to tweak things into place from there. Seemingly arbitrarily established talent values set by the various class designers have been in place for a while. Why go top-down, then bottom-up in development? Wouldn’t it make more sense to start at the bottom and just work upwards from there?
Also, according to Ghostcrawler, talents (and spells) that are being changed now have been determined by developers to be:
- Buggy in implementation
- Overpowered (for their cost)
I would just love to see where developers felt all the previous changes to priests fell with respect to these categories. Were Imp Holy Concentration and Twin Disciplines overpowered? Was Improved Shadowform confusing? Were the added bonuses to Misery “dumb”?
I know it will never happen, but I would love to see the developers’ reasoning on changes, especially the changes that went live last night.
The silver lining is that fixes are in the works for many of the recent changes (see below):
- Grace gives a 2% buff in healing for the Priest, stacking up 3 times.
Now it will only affects healing done by you. There goes some nice Disc-priest and Holy-priest raid synergy.
- Twin Disciplines will now work with Mind Flay and Penance.
Why does this affect some of our channeled spells and not others? Talk about confusing! Why can’t it just affect all of our channeled and instant cast spells? I want this to work with Mind Sear, damnit!
- Improved Holy Concentration will scale with spell crit, instead of just being a flat percentage.
It remains to be seen how well it will scale, but I admit I like this idea very much. Spell crit had little value for holy priests before. It’s nice to see us get more use out of more stats (especially given the abundance of crit on gear).
- Divine Hymn will have a small HoT effect in addition to its crowd control, as is affected by more talents (such as Holy Reach).
This helps. The healing makes it feel more “holy” and make more sense why it is unusable in shadowform.
- Blessed Recovery now gets refreshed on each crit taken, instead of overwritten.
As I said before, Holy PvP will be making a comeback. I’m actually getting a bit giddy about it.
- Lightwell will display the number of charges left on it after you click it.
… whatever …
- Mind Flay will have an updated beam graphic.
Lasers go pew pew! Woo hoo?
- Shadow Power will award 100% bonus damage on crit now and will affect Mind Flay.
About freakin’ time we fell in line with other caster classes in this regard.
- Shadow Resilience is now called Mind Melt. It Increases the critical strike chance of Mind Flay, Mind Sear, and Mind Blast spells by 2%/4%.
Not so good to lose even more PvP abilities from the shadow tree.
- Improved Shadowform will once again remove all movement impairing effects on Fade.
Thankfully this is restored. I was really worried seeing almost all PvP ability gutted from the shadow tree.
- Psychic Horror changed to now reduces all damage done by targets when Psychic Scream ends by 15/30% for 6 sec.
This was changed so that the warlock class could retain their unique ability to apply horror effects to targets. We can no longer horrify targets. The damage reduction is nice, but I wonder what kind of buff/debuff this will apply? It will likely be dispellable.
- Dispersion is back to 90% damage reduction.
The health regen is still gone. :(
- Misery will also grant 5/10/15% bonus spell power to Mind Flay, Mind Sear and Mind Blast.
I’m glad this was added back. This talent was a little pathetic when it was aimed at raiding only. Now it is good for PvP and leveling/soloing as well.