How things are now, priests get a spell at level 10 and another at level 20 that are specific to their race, making the selection of race more important to priest characters than other classes. Not only do we have to examine our race’s core abilities when choosing, but also look ahead to those two spells when settling on a race.
Priest racial spells have drawn a wide amount of criticism since they were rolled out with the original release of World of Warcraft in 2004. Some spells were useless (until they were reworked over two years later). Some people didn’t like being forced into certain races for “better” racial spells. Some people thought these spells were pointless. Some thought them imbalanced. Many called for them to be removed. But Blizzard stoically stood by them…
It was just announced that priest racial spells will be removed in the WotLK beta.
From the WotLK beta forums (posted by Koraa, Class Designer):
In an upcoming build all Priest racials have been retired, except the following:
Desperate Prayer – This is now the 11-point talent in Holy, Holy Nova is now a base ability. Cooldown also reduced to 30 seconds.
Devouring Plague – Now a base ability. Cooldown reduced to 30 seconds, mana cost greatly reduced.
Symbol of Hope – Now a base ability. Now restores 5% base mana every 2 seconds for 8 seconds to your party. Renamed “Hymn of Hope.”
While this change does reduce the “uniqueness” of different Priests, we feel game balance as a whole will benefit.
Note: These new “racials” are not racials, they are trainable to all Priests.
This means that the following spells will be gone forever:
- Touch of Weakness
- Consume Magic
- Hex of Weakness
- Elune’s Grace
Let’s look at the other changes, shall we?
Formerly an undead-only racial spell.
Devouring Plague is a damage over time spell that heal the caster for the damage it deals. It does a bit more damage than SW:Pain, but currently costs a heck of a lot more mana-wise (1153 mana at level 70). DP has a 30 second cooldown now (formerly 3 minutes).
If this remains a disease spell, we will see a little priest/death knight synergy.
Koraa said the mana cost would be “greatly reduced.” How much use this spell will get really hinges on that change. If it remains too high in mana cost, its use will be limited, possibly leaving it tied to Inner Focus (as it is now).
Devouring Plague will increase the effects of the shadow priest talent “Twisted Faith” (increase to damage and spellpower based on the number of shadow damage over time spells you have on the target), making this a spell we will want to be using.
Hymn of Hope
Was formerly called “Symbol of Hope” and was a draenei-only racial spell.
Hymn of Hope regenerates 5% of everyone in your party’s base mana every 2 seconds for 8 seconds. It has a five minute cooldown. That’s 20% of base mana, every 5 minutes. I know it sounds good, but it doesn’t work out to too much.
At level 80, for each class, it gives:
Hunter: 1,009 mana
Mage: 654 mana
Paladin: 879 mana
Priest: 773 mana
Shaman: 879 mana
Warlock: 859 mana
Compare that to how the spell “Symbol of Hope” acts rights now. At level 70, it grants 1k mana back to each player in the party.
It’s really too bad this spell got nerfed.
Formerly an 11-point talent in the holy tree. Now given to all priests.
Same ol’ crappy Holy Nova. It’s going to be great for running lowbies through instances on my shadow priest, but I see no other reason to be excited by it.
Does anyone else remember back when this used to have a cooldown and be the top talent in the holy tree? As nuts as things seem now with all these changes, I can’t help but think back to the olden days and have myself a good chortle.
Formerly a human and dwarf racial spell. This is the new 11-point holy talent.
Restores 3.5k-4.5k health (at level 80) to self-only. Instant cast. 30 second cooldown.
This will be great in PvP, for leveling, or in raid situations with splash damage. It costs zero mana, so it won’t put you in the five second rule.
Desperate Prayer will see so much more use than Holy Nova did as a talent.
Why Change the Status Quo?
These changes disappoint me.
It’s strange to talk to people about this and see what they will be missing. Personally, I lament the removal of Chastise. It was fantastic in PvP. When I told my boyfriend about the proposed changes, he exclaimed: “What do you mean they are removing Starshards?! How can they take my Starshards!?!”
I remember a time before Chastise, and before Starshards was useful. When Blizzard reworked the racial spells over a year ago, I thought things had gotten better. People were complaining less and things were more balanced. Why did they make this change? Koraa cited “balance” in her post, but we only saw a real overhaul to racial spells once.
I’ll admit it. I always liked priest racial spells. They gave us an extra bit of flavor. Sure, some of the spells were outright dumb, but the concept was solid. Poorly implemented, yes, but solid in theory.
What would be interesting is the inclusion of faiths, allowing priests to choose their racials instead of ending up with whatever Blizzard thinks we want. We could select from things like: Faith of Voodoo, Faith of Light, Faith of Shadow, Faith of Elune, etc. How awesome would that be? Voodoo shadow dwarf? Elune-worshipping holy troll? There could be some fun combinations. This concept has been proposed on the official forums dozens of times, and has always seen a good amount of player support. I’d be curious to hear why Blizzard decided against this. I don’t feel it adds too much complexity to the game. Hunters have to spec a pet. Perhaps we have to spec our faith?
The biggest complaint I hear about the WotLK beta is how homogenized things feel. Too many classes can fulfill similar roles, or raid slots, or buff groups. Many abilities are being spread around to multiple classes (AoE healing, AoE damage, group mana regen, etc.). These priest changes are just another thing players can cite when complaning about the lack of “uniqueness” in characters.