The Future! – or atleast patch 3.1

So Blizzard said that they’d go out on a limb and actually try pre-releasing some work in progress ideas they’re trying around for patch 3.1 and Ulduar.. well it seems they’ve gone and done just that – atleast if you’re a Priest(ess), Rogue or Shaman (or Warlock, Druid or Warrior). Now, I sincerely doubt this is is news (or will be for long) for people who keep up to date with what Blizzard posts – or like me get handily linked to it by people more dedicated than myself.. but it certainly is interesting.

The so far suggested Priestess changes are:

  • 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.

While I can’t really put much judgement on the non-disc changes suggested (the Serendipity change sounds like a step towards the whole healer rotations idea Blizzard have found a love for), the discipline ones sound .. well.. delicious, and then some. Divine Spirit going baseline is one – or three – talent points saved. Depending on how Power Word: Barrier will work.. it might either be a handy little additional oh crap button to toss every so often to make up for the lack of Circle of Healing.. or something for disc to use during moments like Malygos’ Vortexes. Penance castable on yourself should make self-healing a fair bit easier, too.

I’m rather giddy about the above, and though I realize it’s all work in progress and subject to change, it does make me itch further information. I do like that Blizzards’ design philosophy for Discipline is very much about damage prevention, which feels like it synergizes quite a bit with Nhani Moonfall – she’s not so much a healer as a guide and protector. She can still mend injuries, naturally, but that’s not all she is.

That’s not all Blizzard has going, though – I was also linked on to another Blizzard post about their plans for mana regeneration, which MMO-Champion has since made a post quoting. I found it rather interesting since one of my first observations was that on my end.. it seemed largely something that’d effect Holy a great deal, but not so much with Discipline. It might just simplify the gear choice between Spirit and mp5 in favour of the latter, depending on how they tweak values around. Of course, I was suggested by the one who linked me that that this might also mean that Blizzard might commence an assault on Rapture – which is a viable concern, but I’m not sure how likely it is to happen. Disc and mana is a quirky issue, and while I think we’re quite fine as we are (considering I can run out of mana during raids, and some fights tend to be quite close with it), I’m not sure if Blizzard agrees. And to be fair, I haven’t seen disc outside of heroic 5-mans and 10-man raids with Yelnenu – it might be a very different ballpark with 25 people and the gear available there.

I don’t expect any of these to be permanent – I suspect Blizzard has a whole lot of testing around to do with all of these values. Based on what I know so far though.. it very much feels like 3.1 will be very kind to followers of the Discipline tree.


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