Priests, WotLK, and Wyn’s Thoughts


My first reaction to the news was utter, stunned silence. Anyone who’s ever been on vent with me (or listened to a certain blogcast) knows how rare that is. There were no words to encompass my shock and depression.

“Why?” I will be asked. “Racials were so stupid. We were the only class that had to worry about what race to roll to THAT extent. This will make things much easier.” Perhaps. But I am a Priest-class enthusiast. I have two level 70 Priests. One Human, one Troll. I have a handful of Priest alts just to experience the flavor that their new spells give. (Starshards is so Pretty!!) I am not a role-player, but I would find it impossible to not spend so much time with someone without learning a little about their personality, and I somehow don’t think any of my Priests will be the same without abilities shaped so directly by the life-experiences they had before I met them. How can you be a faith-leader for your faction, a student of the Light and Shadow, without developing a few personal opinions?

And so it is with a desperately heavy heart, a crinkle in my nose, and tears in my eyes that I say farewell to Hex of Weakness and Shadowguard. Admittedly, Renwein will not miss Feedback – we didn’t use it much – but Wynthea will no longer mock Paladins and less-gifted Priests as they attempt to dispel the curse preventing their heals’ full value. No more will I have a funny little purple satellite for company, which had a clever habit of proc’ing Shadow Weaving and Blackout when I was Shadow-spec’d. Maybe I’m taking it too hard. I probably am. I just looked forward to levels 10 and 20 so much with each new race…. and now it won’t matter. My lowbie Priests will be deleted, since they serve no purpose.

Frankly, this latest blow to my class-pride hits a little harder because of how I feel about Priests’ role in general. Go dig up your classic-wow handbook. The one that hasn’t been updated, that still comes with the game. See where it describes the classes? It talks about Priests being the premiere healers in WoW. That’s why I rolled my first one 3 years ago. It’s why I’ve stayed with the class for so long. Other classes can do other things – Paladins and Druids can also tank, all the other healing classes can Melee DPS, and Shammies and Druids both can caster-DPS as well. Sure you can go Shadow – but Blizz has pigeonholed Shadow Priests into raid utility and mana-return. (In my opinion, if Shadow Priests were supposed to be competitive on DPS, Mind Flay would have a 40 yd. range like everyone else’s bread-and-butter spells. Among other things.) Shadow Priests have to fight tooth-and-nail for every scrap of damage and respect they get. Holy Priests…. well, we were what the class was originally designed to be. That’s why classic Tier sets were all Holy-based. Priest was synonymous with healer.

But now, Druids are gaining a circle-of-renew. Paladins if glyphed properly will be able to AoE heal. Shamans have raid-wide utility, in addition to the original work-horse AoE heal. And Priests? The spell we and our raids have come to depend on is being given a 6-second cooldown. (That’s right, all the new patch notes show that that abominable nerf that went away on the Beta realms is BACK and going LIVE.) Take a look at the new Priest Healing spells: we get TWO.

Divine Hymn – You recite a Holy hymn, causing the closest 10 enemies within 0 yards to become incapacitated for 20 sec., and heals the closest friendly targets within 0 yards for 4506 over 6 sec. 20% of base mana, 1.5 sec cast, 3 min cooldown.

and our 80-point talent: Guardian Spirit – Calls upon a guardian spirit to watch over the friendly target. The spirit increases the healing received by the target by 40%, and also prevents the target from dying by sacrificing itself. This sacrifice terminates the effect but heals the target of 10% of their maximum health. Lasts 10 sec.

All our other talents are focused on increasing the amount healed by spells we already have, or the speed with which they are delivered. (oh, wait, that got nerfed a bit, too.)

In the rush to make every spec viable, and to homogenize the capabilities of the classes to avoid any specific requirements for any given raid…. Blizzard hadn’t stripped Priests of what made us special – our flexibility as healers – but added those utility spells to the other healers. This latest news goes further – rather than leaving us with our level 70 spells in a level 80 world, it actively takes away MORE of what makes us unique.

I will continue on. I am still very excited about a lot of things coming up in Wrath. The scenery continues to be beautiful, and Dalaran is the best-developed capital city ever. But now, my unbridled enthusiasm for the xpac is tempered by a sense of loss. I reveled in being the strongest, most adaptable healing class, and the class which, in my opinion, required the most fore-thought, planning, and knowledge of game-mechanics of all. I’m sad that both of the sources of my loyalty to the class are eroding. Perhaps it’s a good thing I’ve familiarized myself with Death Knight mechanics.

A very depressed Wyn

21 thoughts on “Priests, WotLK, and Wyn’s Thoughts”

  1. With the removing of Niches, so does things such as class-specific racials. They tried it beyond priests in TBC, it didn’t work. So, to avoid class stacking, Blizz felt this had to be done. Yet, this takes away something unique.

    I personally agree with the changes, even though I no longer play a priest. My healing spells do go out to those who feel sad about it now though.

    Variety is the spice of life. I hope Blizzard remembers this.

    Ayliis last blog post..Caverns of Time: Stratholme [Spoiler]

  2. I’m with you on this one, Wyn. I absolutely am going to miss my troll priest’s racials; even though he’s still low-level-ish, I felt they added a certain flavor to him that I didn’t get with the Forsaken (believe me, I thought long and hard about which race to pick!). Now they’re getting blended together; the troll is losing everything special about their priestliness, while he’ll be picking up Devouring Plague.


  3. Oh Wyn, the stealth nerf to CoH makes me sick. Let’s hope it disappears.

    From what I have seen, at least to the end of Hyjal and BT we’ve got a rough balance among races and classes already. None of our priests have had an easier time because of specific racials. The change to fear ward might have been necessary, but none of the others will have that impact. I like the uniqueness of priests of different races! I’ve got two myself–I guess the human is getting turned into a bank now. Because I only raid with one character, I like to think of my alts in an RP-ish way (like RP lite), and I really enjoy all of their spells and characteristics. It’s not ALL about utility.

    But I think priests have not gotten the care and attention they need for Wrath. Each of the other healing classes has been given the one thing they desire most. And heck, I’m living proof that druids are fine as they are. I think paladins are the only ones who suffered in late T6.

    If I could have given priests something for the x-pack, it would have been something like a paladin’s bubble. The worst thing about being a priest might be the frequent deaths on trash. I might also have given them a second HoT to bring them more in line with what druids will be able to do in Wrath–with a differently-colored animation, maybe purple. There’s not enough purple anything. It seems that the discipline tree got some love, but I really don’t think the CoH priest has that much to look forward to.

  4. I can understand from the perspective of balance that this was probably something that needed to be addressed. As a Forsaken, I’ve long enjoyed Devouring Plague, but have seen Starshards get a number of adjustments to make it viable, and could never see much utility in Feedback.

    That said, I’d rather have kept them- it gave something unique to the class. Indeed, I’d have enjoyed seeing a few race-specific abilities for *each* class, but I know that would have been even more of a balancing act.

    It’s very disappointing that the way it has now been ‘addressed’ is to dismantle it altogether. I’ll still have DP… but there won’t be anything particularly Undead about it anymore…

    Apoptygmaas last blog post..Army Meets as the Drums of War Beat Steadily

  5. As a mage who has so far been unsuccessful in getting a priest past level 16, none of these changes make any sense to me.

    Removing the race specific spells seems utterly backwards to me, and adding a cooldown to CoH seems intensely stupid.
    What was the thinking behind that?

    “The Holy Priests are healing too much!”
    “The melee DPS aren’t dying on [boss] anymore!”
    “With less money spent on repairs, now the economy is going to inflate! Quick! Nerf healing so more people die!”

    Actually, hold up. That last one makes sense.

    Euripedess last blog post..Things to Make You Feel Old

  6. I’m disappointed at the removal of the racials – my Night Elf priest is certainly going to miss her Starshards. I can potentially understand why they’ve done it, I think, but I’ll be sad to wave Starshards goodbye. (Grace of Elune not so much, largely because I NEVER REMEMBER TO USE IT. *sigh*)

    Just a couple of nitpicks, though 😉 First up, Priests weren’t the only one whose old raiding gear was all healbotty – Paladins were in the same boat, and as far as I know druids were too. Not sure about shammies, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    And second, Paladins aren’t going to be able to AoE heal – at least, not properly. Our only AoE will be that if we Glyph for it, our Holy Light (not any other heal spell) grants 10% of its heal effect to 5 targets within 5 yards of the target. FIVE YARDS. On big bosses, that’s not even enough to hit the meleers! And the amount of healing it’ll do – well, with a level 70 paladin with ~2k +heal, anyone hit by the AoE portion of HL will get about 500-520 healing out of it. A nice top-up, to be sure, but hardly the equal of any of the other AoE heals out there, and not something that you could use as a viable true AoE heal.

    Sihas last blog post..Healadin Glyphs – A First Look and a Revelation

  7. Holy Priests…. well, we were what the class was originally designed to be. That’s why classic Tier sets were all Holy-based. Priest was synonymous with healer.

    And that’s why the druid tier set was for resto, only, the shaman set was for resto, only, and the paladin set was for holy, only.

    I’m really, really glad that the days are gone where all priests healed, all druids healed, all pallies healed, all shamans healed. I’m sorry that you take it as an affront that your class is no longer the best healer class in the game, but it’s a much healthier game when people can do the same thing in multiple ways.

    Kals last blog post..[General] What do you want tested?

  8. It’s not that I’m upset that other healers will continue to be very viable and in-demand. It’s that I’m upset that Priests have, so far, not received ANYTHING positive or new for WotLK. It’s news after news about nerfs. For a full catalogue check out ‘s run-down of her issues with Beta Shadow.

    In the current game mechanics, I’ve found that the 4 healing classes balance and compliment each other EXTREMELY well. But while my counterparts are receiving the one or two things they wanted most, it’s cooldown and nerfs for the Priests:

    Disc is supposed to be raid viable mostly by mitigating damage, but there’s a 4-sec cd on the bread-and-butter spell, PW:S. The CD on Pain Suppression is increased from 2 to 3 minutes. (While Focused casting is moving from 3 to 2… But if you can cast faster, more often, but you have CD’s that negate that casting speed, what’s the point?)

    Prayer of Mending was a great new spell in BC, but a few patches ago got hit with a 10 sec cooldown. Now Circle of Healing is actually getting a 6 second cooldown. And sure, it’ll be a smart heal, able to cross party-groups… but that’s what Chain Heal is for. I, for one, appreciated the control that nailing a specific party would give – fights like Illidan, Kalecgos, Bloodboil would have a lot of healing over-lap if CoH and Chain Heal had to butt-heads over whom to target.

    Holy Fire has seen increased damage, and decreased casting time – but a cooldown. Mind Blast and SW: D ALSO have cooldowns (with Death’s being increased a few patches ago.)

    They also announced that Improved Concentration would not proc as much, and Twin Disciplines would only affect instant-cast spells.

    Not that the reduction to instant casts will matter, since they’re all on cooldown (Except renew. Which will see decreased efficacy due to Flourish. Note that I don’t begrudge trees their spell – I just want something positive to look forward to, as well.) The reduction in quicker casts WILL be important, since the only healing spells I’ll have consistently available will be Greater, Flash, Binding and Prayer of Healing.

    And, no, Hex of Weakness isn’t as huge a loss as all that.. but it was responsible for my Guild’s first Council Kill (mitigating 20% of a missed heal interrupt is srs biz.) But now… how am I supposed to keep myself alive when someone tries to gank me? I can’t blackout stun them with Shadow Guard. I can’t Chastise them on my Draenei, I can’t keep myself up with CoH, I can’t keep myself up with ProH, and they will break through my shield far, far before the 15sec weakness has expired. Renew? It’s not enough now, I don’t see why it will be then.

    Forgive my ranting. The news of the release date means far less sandbox time for Blizz Devos. It also means less time for me to be patient and make my voice heard. If the squeaky wheel gets the oil, I shall scream.

    Blizzard, give Priests a reason to keep playing our class!!!

  9. And, no, Hex of Weakness isn’t as huge a loss as all that.. but it was responsible for my Guild’s first Council Kill (mitigating 20% of a missed heal interrupt is srs biz.) But now… how am I supposed to keep myself alive when someone tries to gank me? I can’t blackout stun them with Shadow Guard. I can’t Chastise them on my Draenei, I can’t keep myself up with CoH, I can’t keep myself up with ProH, and they will break through my shield far, far before the 15sec weakness has expired. Renew? It’s not enough now, I don’t see why it will be then. I would think Desperate Prayer on a 30sec cooldown would help a lot here. And I think having holy nova baseline is a good touch too, especially with CoH being changed.

    I don’t think that priests have gotten nearly as much love as they should have. They simply haven’t gotten the Wow! factor that resto druids or holy paladins have. There’s still time though. And having resto shamans and CoH priests overlap is a good thing; it means that it’s no longer required to bring three CoH priests to a fight no matter what, or bring 3 resto shamans to a fight no matter what. I would like to see priests get more buffs and definitely better things that make you excited, but honestly – having undead priests get desperate prayer and Hymn? That’s a big win for them, and having devouring plague and desperate prayer both be actually be reduced in cooldown is a big deal.

    Holy priests are still the only healing class in the game that can do a good job MT healing, splash healing, HoT healing and group healing. I’d like to see them get a bit more utility, but druids would love to have more ability to do bigger heals, paladins would love the raid healing without a gimmicky talent, and shamans would love to have some kind of HoTs. Well, okay, shamans right now are incredibly broken and screwed, and they’d like to be able to cast more than 5 chain heals without going OOM.

    Kals last blog post..[Paladin] WotLK testing: the lack of int and you

  10. /sigh. you’re right. And I’m feeling better. It’s just that time… keeps running out. And, yes, DP would help a lot in that situation – I used it that way on my Human. I wonder what the mana cost will be (I doubt it will stay free.)

    Although, as much as I love Holy Nova (And I do. Very Much.) it’s far, far too costly (and moreso in Beta) to spam like CoH for keeping-self-alive purposes. (at over 800 mana for about 850 healing, a Rogue would make mincemeat out of it. CoH is around 400 mana for over 1k healing.)

    I’m still sad that DP will have YET ANOTHER cooldown. It’s a good thing i’ve got an awesome cooldown minder in my UI……

    All that is to say… I still need a hug. And probably a cookie.

  11. Pretty much exactly how I feel. I even dusted off my Druid on the PTR last night and played around with a Resto spec – she’d been Balance since my Priest hit 70 back in April and took her place as my raiding main.

    But after a lot of thinking and whinging, I’ve decided it’s too early to give up hope. And I still enjoy playing my Priest more than I ever did my Druid, even though they took away some of the things that bugged me the most about being a Tree (slower movement speed, no ooc rez, inability to cast Healing Touch in Tree form, no group heal that wasn’t on a rediculous cooldown…).

    Re CoH: while the PTR Patch Notes *say* there’s a 6-second cooldown on CoH there is no cooldown on the spell as it currently works on the PTR. I read on the forums that the patch notes are behind the build on the PTR, but I haven’t found an official Blizzard source to confirm it.


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