The notes are here if you haven’t seen them yet. WOW.com has a run-down of the highlights. The following are just my thoughts on the proposed changes.

  • Heal: I’ve never really understood why Blizzard has chosen to make healing spells progress like this. We start with Lesser Heal, get Heal at 16, and get Greater Heal around 40 if I’m remembering correctly. Every time we go up a step, the previous step becomes useless (less healed for the same amount of mana). Mages don’t have Lesser Fireball, Fireball, and Greater Fireball; why are healing spells stacked this way? Regardless, it’s nice to see some more granularity in the healing spells available to level-capped priests.
  • Mind Spike: You might remember a variant on this ability used by various voidwalkers and similarly-aspected creatures in Outland. (I’m thinking in particular about the voidwalkers around Oshu’gun in Nagrand.) This is useful for Shadow priests who – as they said – don’t have time to set up a rotation or who are locked out of Shadow spells (since it’s Shadowfrost, it won’t be stymied by school-lock mechanics). But as a baseline spell (it shows up at level 81 and they’ve said they’re not extending the talent trees beyond 51 points), it’ll also be useful to Disc and Holy priests in similar situations – it has a faster cast time than Mind Blast (and no cooldown) and no self-damage component like Shadow Word: Death, so we’ll be able to use it to DPS when we’ve been school-locked.
  • Inner Will: This is going to be fabulous for raiding Disc priests. We’ll be much more mobile and we’ll have mana reductions on many of our key mitigation spells (PW:S and Pain Suppression, I’m looking at you). Based on this, I suspect that we’ll be seeing more talents and glyphs that remove the cast time of some our healing spells as well. (“When your Penance critically heals a friendly target, your next Heal has a chance to become instant-cast.”)
  • Leap of Faith: It’s like Death Grip for friendlies. Here is where I’m going to deviate from the general healing population: if you are outright refusing to heal someone because they’re standing in a ground effect, you are a bad healer. Placing them lower on the priority list? Sure. It’s their responsibility to get out. But it’s your responsibility to heal the group. If you won’t do that, you shouldn’t be healing. We’ve come to a point in WOW where a lot of healers are saying “I’m just healing the tank, the DPS are on their own”, which is patently ridiculous. (Yes, I know I’ve been guilty of saying this myself sometimes. Shame on me.) Leap of Faith is a mitigation tool when someone’s standing in the fire; it’s like Power Word: Shield, except that it won’t run out. Added bonus: Leap of Faith + Inner Will = nobody ever has to do Frogger again.
  • HOTs and DOTs will now benefit from haste and crit by default. This is cause for celebration, but I wonder: is this limited to priests, or is it a general change? And will Shadowform get a different bonus since it’s losing the haste/crit bonus?
  • The changes to Spirit buffs – removing Divine Spirit, and making Blessing of Kings and Mark of the Wild not affect spirit – feel kludgy to me. Why not just drop Spirit entirely and go to straight MP5/HP5?
  • We want to improve Discipline’s single-target healing capacity.” Um. What does Blizzard know that I don’t about Disc priests’ ability to heal a single target well? “You’re awesome, and we want to make you totally awesome.”
  • Power Word: Barrier: Finally. I’ve been waiting for this since the Wrath beta!
  • Shadow Orbs (part of Shadow mastery): this looks like a cool mechanic. Wait for the minor Glyph to turn the orbs into ravens.

What are your thoughts? Leave me a note in the comments!

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