Understanding New Talents and Thoughts on Priests

Last week, it was announced that talent trees would get sliced. Reason being that there was too much unnecessary crap and not enough fun talents. Most of us sort of got the idea of what they wanted to do. Include more talents that do something tangible, that we can feel or use.

Potentially free Lightning Bolt after casting a Lightning Bolt? Cool.

Gradually increasing healing by some random percentage of which you can’t really see? Not quite as exciting.

Preview the new trees and see what they’ll look like

How specialization works

Okay, so the way I understand it, the moment you ding level 10, you get to start specializing your character. The moment you invest your first talent, you get access to a myriad of spells and abilities which define that particular tree.

Let’s use a Priest for example.

As Holy

I get access to:

  • Desperate Prayer
  • Holy Priest (Pushback reduction on discipline and holy spells)
  • Meditation

As Discipline

I get access to:

  • Penance
  • Pushback resistance
  • Meditation

From what I can see, no special training is required. You are well on your way to becoming that specialized priest of your choice. There won’t be any 20/21 type builds either. You need to fully invest your points down one tree before you can fork over to a different one. The rate at which you receive talents points have been roughly halved as well. Figure you get a new point every 2 or maybe 3 levels.

What do I think?

My opinion though, I’m not sure what can be done to entice players to select holy at the lower levels. I notice a few sad face Priests when they notice that Desperate Prayer is the innate spell we get. Desperate Prayer makes the most sense for balance and logistical reasons (like what’s the point of getting Circle of Healing at level 10?) At that stage of the game, you’re hardly doing much in a party anyway. At least with the prayer, you can fire off a desperate heal if you pulled one too many murlocs.

I can’t count the number of times where I could’ve easily leveled the murlocs and their huts if I had access to Desperate Prayer.

Anyway, I can certainly see the foundation of Holy taking place. I’m trying to remember what the original 41 point talent was back in vanilla (Spirit of Redemption? Lightwell?). Now if they can just somehow throw in something new in place of Renew or Empowered Healing at the first level under Holy. What would be a decent ability at that level?

Holy seems quite top heavy in the sense that any of the deeper talents could easily fulfill the role as the 31 point talent. Guardian Spirit is the current one. Circle of Healing used to be the end talent back during Burning Crusade, if memory serves. I wouldn’t mind seeing Chakra and Guardian Spirit switched. From a symbolic perspective, I think a talent like that which gives your spells nifty bonuses whenever you string them together should be an ultimate skill.

But that’s inspired from assorted limit breaks from Final Fantasy.

From a logistical and practical standpoint? It might be better off if priests get a feel for Chakra earlier in their leveling life.

The Discipline side of things looks great! Power Word: Barrier as the 31 pointer? Awesome. It appears that Discipline is destined to be the leveling spec (due to Evangelism and Archangel).

One thing I noticed is the placement of Inner Focus. At 11 points in, it will not be accessible to Holy priests. I don’t know if that’s intentional or not. Inner Focus has been one of those taken-for-granted type talents that all healing priests usually get. For it to be cut off like for those that choose the path of Holy is going to be quite the impact. Here’s hoping it gets switched with Archangel.

Anyway, I like the direction the talent condensation is going. Obviously they’re not all complete or finalized yet. Some classes still have a few placeholders or leftover talents from live that aren’t supposed to be there.

Now I don’t know about you, but I’m going to have a heck of a time figuring out which healing priest type I want to switch to. I’ll probably end up dual speccing both anyway. I might just go back to my roots and be straight up holy again in the expansion.

How are you liking the talents so far? (And it doesn’t have to be restricted to just priests either)!

25 thoughts on “Understanding New Talents and Thoughts on Priests”

  1. Will be interesting to see if Evangelism and Archangel become staples as well, if the mana return is stacked as the healing is, I cant see why any healing priest would leave it out.

    • @Nessie and John: Oh yeah, you’re right. It WAS Holy Nova. Man, was that a long time ago or what? Anyone else feel super old remembering that? ^^

      @Väktarna: My guess is we’ll see an arrow leading from Evangelism to Archangel (from tier 2 to tier 3).

      @Docatron: Cookie cutter builds have always been around. Actually, for us right now, we might have a variance of 2-6 talent points to work with. I do know what you mean. I do think we’ll get a bit of flexibility in a few months as more talents are repackaged, nuked, or created. I wouldn’t mind seeing a set of mana boosting talents versus healing boosting type talents. Do we wanna go for the efficiency or switch over to more power? IE, healing on 1st gear vs healing on 5th gear.

      @Tya: Here’s hoping Lightwell changes. Mana well!

  2. From a PVP perspective, I was sad to lose access to desperate prayer. Otherwise, I’m floored for the changes to discipline as a dps/healing hybrid. Shadow is looking very appealing as well, especially with fun talents like shadowy apparition.

    I’m happy to see things moving in this direction. The original changes to the talent trees in early beta seemed pretty anti-climactic to me. I love that you are forced to specialize early on, and that your specializations are more meaningful now. Penance at level 10? Yes plz.

  3. Well…if this is the final tree build, I must admit I’m a little: meh…I was rather excited about Disc (while I always played holy) when they announced the previous trees, but what I see here is more or less…well…boring.

    And what is it with Lightwell? I think it’s one of the talents people pick the least because it is not worth it trying to train your dps to use it, so Blizzard thinks: nah ja, then we force them to spec in to it?

    Lets hope, that in the true nature of catalysm info, the trees will change another 3 times before they actually come out. ^^

  4. Personally I’m not as pleased with the discipline tree as you seem to be. For sure it looks much better than before without boring talents but my problem are in the ranks 1, 2 & 3 where you can’t find enough usefull talents for healing because of all the “crappy” ones in rank 2.
    As you did in your example above you will have to take things like Evangelism or Atonement for being able to specc as an adequate disc priest.
    And for sure Archangel is not an alternative because of the dependance upon Evangelism which don’t improves your healing anyway (thinking that the mana-reduce for penance will only count for the dps-part).

  5. I know atm we all play with optimal specs and there is very little difference in 1 disc or holy priests spec to any other disc or holy priest spec (prob more so with disc) but these little trees just make me feel sad. Everyone will be the same spec because there is no real wiggle room to pick once thing up over another.

    I dont know how others feel but it seems to me that these trees are just another step away from individuality, and one step closer to ok well you choose your class and you now only have 1 spec. Maybe I am just being synical and once I get a chance to play about with them I will like it but for the time being I am not convinced.

    I know it was getting to the point where we had a huge amount of talent points and for any future expansions the trees would deffo need to be either widened or lengthened but I just feel as though I have been shafted – new content, new spells, new levels – less talents, less customisation. Am I the only one who thinks this doesnt quite sound right?

    Similarly, all the various healing specs for all classes have damage component talents which I feel are rather unecessary. I am sure people play healers and wish they were able to DPS as well, and from time to time I will throw a few dots on a boss and maybe even a smite but I dont really contribute any “real DPS”. Should we expect that in Cata we will only be healing from time to time and spend a significant amount of time DPSing in encounters?

  6. I think they’re giving us DPS talents in Disc/Holy because we’re one of the few (two, to be exact) classes with only one tree for DPS.

    They seem to think leveling as a healer needs DPS talents.

    I say they’re a waste of time, and confusing people. But, maybe people are choosing not to play healers because they can’t level them up and be a healing spec at the same time without getting dual spec. I guess it is hard to learn your healing spec if you spend 1-84 as a DPS spec 😛

    They changed Desperate Prayer to be much more cool, by the way. Its not as bad a deal as it sounds. Its an instant, smart, binding heal on a 45 sec cooldown.

  7. I’ve wanted to be positive about this for a good long while: cutting some of the dead-weight from the trees. I think I might still be positive, but a little more reservedly so than I’d originally anticipated.

    Some things I’ve noticed: There _are_ in fact, still sort of Hobson’s Choice-style decisions: will _any_ of the three specs not take Twin Disciplines? Seems doubtful. Furthermore, there are a whole lot of 3-point talents, which, amusingly enough, are actually a bigger percentage of our total talent pool sunk into specific areas than the old 5-point talents were (please double-check my math on this one: NOT my forte, but i’m pretty sure that 3/41 is more than 5/71, let alone the originally presumed 5/76!).

    I guess my main disappointments are as follows:
    1) Where is my beloved Power Infusion? (Can’t claim to have read every note, but i didn’t see anything about it going away, & i love it!)

    2) (and this is the kicker) I had expected more fiddly & fun talents to get to choose from. I primarily play discipline (just coming back to holy recently), & was assuming I’d get to have weird conversations with myself over something quirky, rather like Body & Soul gave me in my holy talent taking. The smite-things are cool & all, but I’m seeing a huge investment in them to make them pay off in an actual raid-type setting (again, not a math genius, but 6/41 is pretty substantial–in fact, my cell phone’s calculator has it pushing 15% of our talents!).

    3) It feels odd getting excited about an expansion, which, rather than showing us gobs of new stuff (though there has been gobs of it, just not right in front of my face right now), rather as Matt suggested in his original post, I see us being forced _out_ of things we once took as a matter of form (Inner Focus’s departure for the holy crowd comes to mind).

    Okay, so much for the complaints. I’m still pretty keen on what I’m seeing here. A lot of deadwood has been cut back, & even if I shall never again be able to spec for lightning-fast mass dispels (how I’ll miss you guys!), it still seems like a win to thin things out a bit.

    Final caveat to end this wall of text: I’m not in any sort of beta, & probably have no idea whatsoever what I’m on about….this is just from some poking around & reading.

  8. The only difference in specialization will be between PvE and PvP builds. This is back to cookie cutter builds. I’ll reiterate some comments I made in the past that I still think are relevant:

    1) Welcome back cookie cutter builds.

    2) Leaving Spirit Tap as a talent in the Shadow tree will make Holy and Discipline less attractive levelling specializations.

    3) Blizzard is more or less dictating play styles based on specialization choice, not the other way around.

  9. The worst part about the original Holy Nova was it wasn’t even a heal. 30cd dmg AOE that reduced threat. Still boggles my brain why a healing spec needed a dmg AOE as their ultimate talent.

  10. I’m pretty sure it still had the Heal attached, or did they add it? I remember Holy priests running with Holy Nova for the Vael BWL fight when they removed the 30second cooldown, the ranged groups would stack up near the boss and the priests would heal their groups/dps.

  11. Just a little nitpick…I’m sure you meant the original 31 talent point back in vanilla, since, ya know, vanilla trees were 31 points deep. BC was 41 and Wrath is, of course, 51.

    I’ll be moving on now… 🙂

  12. @Matt I don’t mean this to pick at anything, but didn’t Bliz and I think GC who said they want to go AWAY from cookie cutter builds? Give you more points to put in “fun” tallents and others that are not required to play the game at a high level?

    If they cut out more points and make the trees like this I think they are moreseo encouraging cookie cutters.

    That being said I am fairly happy with what I have seen so far. I would kinda like new tallents, or change some of them more. We don’t want the same ones just changing their #’s a bit. I kinda like the idea of locking people into one tree and giving them a big tallent just for choosing the tree right away. I like this, and I think it adds a lot more fun to thegame as a whole. So I am kinda torn on the whole thing.
    Just like I am torn about I want it all right but I want the game in Sept. They keep changing so much how much longer will we have to wait? (Sorry to digress there).

    Great write up Matt as always.

  13. Originally, Holy Nova was the 31-point talent (41-point talents didn’t arrive until 2.0). After the priest class review in spring 2006, Holy Nova was an 11-point talent and the new 31-point talent was lightwell. Fun, huh?

  14. Holy crap Penance at level 10! Not to mention Meditation. But Penance at level 10!! As for discipline becoming a leveling spec, I say, bring it on! I might just roll another priest on yet another server just for the pleasure of leveling as discipline with the new talents.

    As a newly-minted discipline priest, well, rather a convert from holy, I’m very excited. I just blogged about how discipline blew my mind the first time I tried it.


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