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Patch Day Ponderings

February 10, 2009

I am finally going to be able to make some kind of analysis on the patch notes that have been released regarding 3.1, only to have a few things appear for the 3.0.9 patch that is supposed to hit tomorrow. Nothing really ground breaking there though except the Priest community is quite excited over the changes to Inner Fire, 30 mins timer on the buff and no-dispelling. I’m not sure it will improve the survivability of the class in PvP but not having to refresh it half as often on a timer seems good to me, especially when so much of our armour comes from having it up, not to mention the bonus spellpower.

Ok, so, let’s look at 3.1, firstly I’ll delve into the Shaman side of things, it’s a class I’ve been enjoying way more than the Priest and one I plan to be playing more of.

  • Chain Lightning – now jumps to 4 targets but does less damage. We wanted to make the distinction between Lightning Bolt and Chain Lightning more clear.
  • Storm, Earth and Fire – this talent now increases all damage done by Flame Shock, not just periodic damage.
  • Spirit Weapons – now reduces all threat, not just melee threat.
  • Unleashed Rage – reduced to 2 ranks, now also increases your critical strike chance with melee attacks by 1/2%.
  • Totem streamlining: The Mana Spring and Healing Stream Totems have been combined. The Disease Cleansing and Poison Cleansing Totems have been combined.
  • We are also working on giving Enhancement and Elemental more PvP utility.

Chain lightning bouncing to another target seems OK, on the 4th bounce it’ not really going to be doing any real damage and I already think that the difference between LB and CL is quite clear, one is single target, one is multi-target, don’t see the problem there. I like the change to Storm, Earth and Fire, I use FS a lot and have the Glyph at the moment, sure spamming LB works and stuff sometimes dies before getting close for the shock but I’m happy to accept any damage boost that the devs are willing to throw my way. Spirit weapons and Unleashed Rage really don’t do anything for me as I don’t spec that way so can’t offer any proper feedback on those changes. The totems I’m happy with, there has been some QQ on the forums about how this “dumbs down” the class but I personally think it makes sense and means my Totem Timer bars get shorter, I don’t have any of the totems saved to my normal hotbars. The PvP stuff doesn’t bother me but I also know from class forums that Shamans are considered underpowered and have a lot of problems in PvP, I’ve taken my Priest into PvP and that has never turned out well but Lekktra has not even looked into a BG at all so no idea, I have been owned by Shamans on occasion though but that was way back pre and post TBC. It’ll be interesting to see if there are any other changes coming in that patch too, I suppose we’ll wait and see.

Onto the Priest then;

  • Divine Spirit – this spell is now a core ability available to all priests.
  • Discipline has access to a new talent, Power Word: Barrier. (Think of it as Power Word: Shield for your whole group).
  • Several area of effect (AOE) heal spells have been improved:
    • Prayer of Healing can be cast on any groups in your raid party.
    • Holy Nova’s mana cost has been reduced.
    • Circle of Healing now heals for more.
  • Shadow priest PvP survivability has been improved: Shadow Form now reduces magic as well as physical damage. Dispersion now removes snares.
  • Penance – this spell can now be targeted on the priest.
  • Serendipity – this talent now reduces the cast time of Greater Heal and Prayer of Healing when Binding Heal or Flash Heal are cast.
  • We are also working to give Holy additional PvP utility.

Making Divine Spirit a core ability for all priests is a good move, for many specs it’s too high up in Disc to be used and not of enough bonus to bother throwing all points into it. I’m interested to see whether it’ll be the fully buffed Improved Divine Spirit that makes it onto the spell bar or the standard version and more talent points freed up to improve it in its tree. Power Word: Barrier, not sure how much use that’s going to be, although if it works with the PW: Shield glyph then it could be hugely overpowered, imagine giving half your raid Divine Aegis by popping that spell, I doubt it’s going to work that way though. I like the AOE healing buffs, I rarely use CoH because it heals for so little and I have thought about trying to use Holy Nova to do the same kind of jobs that CoH and PoH do but it does tend to drain you of mana. Playing the Shaman of course will mean I may not get to make use of these changes. Shadow Priests and PvP don’t concern me but I don’t think range is their problem, melee eats through Priests no matter the spec, especially with a DKs ninja pull that likes to grab us from the safety of ranged groups and drop us in convenient range to get burst into the ground. Penance castable on yourself, awesome, I wasted a lot of time when first speccing Disc before I realised it wasn’t going to work. Anything that make me heal more faster is welcome, we’ll see how fast it gets once the changes to Serendipity are live. The only way I can conceive of adding Holy utility to PvP is to increase survivability, we get nuked in next to no time so can never heal if we’re targeted (which is normally all the time). I remember pre-TBC when a Priest was awesome, I loved running alongside one when I was playing my first proper character (an Orc Hunter called Urdrek).

I think these changes will be welcomed in the most part, at least for the classes I am concerned with, I haven’t really read up on anyone else but have heard whispers that all is not well in Warlock land. I haven’t even seen the entrance to Naxx yet am not too concerned with Ulduar, I’m sure the Bin Collectors will get there soon enough.

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