This morning, a blue post came out with some new information on changes that are being made to various set bonuses, including those to the priest tier.
- Holy/Discipline Priest 2-Piece: Now also triggers from casting Prayer of Mending.
- Holy/Discipline Priest 4-Piece: Old bonus removed and replaced — You have a chance when you cast a helpful spell to summon a Cauterizing Flame at the target’s location. Each second the Cauterizing Flame will heal an injured party member within 20 yards for 9250 to 10750 health. Lasts 5 seconds.
The first change is nice, because Prayer of Mending is a spell that healing priests of all stripes should be almost always using off cooldown and regenerating 2% of our base mana every time we use it could really add up. I like that the overall effect is guaranteed, meaning you could use the initial three spells that were included in the bonus (Flash Heal, Heal, and Greater Heal) and you would be sure to get the mana regen. It wasn’t a “you have a chance to do X” kind of effect.
But what I didn’t like was that the 2 piece set bonus included three spells that most priests don’t use often enough. We would have essentially had to have weaved one of those spells into our rotation regularly to see the full effects of this. Depending on how well you can adapt to something like that, this could have been more trouble than it was worth. The change to including Prayer of Mending into the mix removes the need for that and allows us to enjoy the 2 piece bonus more effortlessly, so we can focus on other things (like just healing or staying out of bad stuff).
The 4 piece bonus was of course the one that got everyone talking. Even people who didn’t play priests had something to say about it and I feel much of it was undeserved. I was one of the few people who was optimistic about the bonus, as it was and I wasn’t in much of a hurry to see it changed. However, Blizzard was listening to the feedback and decided to make some changes.
The old version of Cauterizing Flame, which acted like a Lightwell has been replaced and changed into something that spawns near someone that you have just healed. Instead of having a chance to create something that others need to click on to receive heals from, you now have a chance to create something that will automatically generate heals to those within 20 yards of it for a certain amount of health. This effect will last for five seconds.
A couple of things stand out to me about this change. First, you may notice that the text states that the new Cauterizing Flame will heal an injured party member within 20 yards, which indicates that it will most likely be a smart heal. This could be big. Part of what makes Circle of Healing so useful to us and why it’s such a core spell for holy priests is because of the smart heal factor. Druids tend to feel the same about Wild Growth and now Efflorescence, since it was recently changed to work like that. A smart heal can easily set a spell apart from others in your arsenal that you may have to choose from.
The amount of healing that the Cauterizing Flame will now put out has also been increased, but the time it will stay out has been drastically lowered. Some of the original questions that I have about this still remain. Will we be able to have more than one up a time or would there be some kind of internal cooldown that would prevent that from happening? Will the healing effects stack, like if another priest generates a Cauterizing Flame near mine? Would the healing generated be affected by my spellpower or by my mastery? By haste or by crit?
And just in case you were one of those that wasn’t impressed by the 4 piece bonus before and still might not be, you were probably taking some amount of comfort in the fact that you could take advantage of your 2 piece healing bonus and the 2 piece shadow bonus, too.
- Shadow Priest 2-Piece: Now requires the priest to be in Shadowform to be active.
Lastly, there was some information released the other day, in which the costs of several spells belonging to holy paladins were slated to go up by a noticeable amount. While paladins were of course annoyed about this, some also begin to speculate that this was a change that could eventually trickle down to all classes, as we make our way into new content and the risk of being overgeared comes into play. Perhaps Blizzard would be making these changes to encourage us to fall back into the style of triage healing that tended to fall out of favor, once people got better geared and topping everyone off became normal again.
This has now been explained to be something that was meant solely to effect paladins:
“We increased paladin mana costs because they were too efficient at healing. In raid encounters, for instance, paladins were sitting at 40% of their mana while the other healers were flat out of mana. Paladins were casting Divine Heal as their main heal because they didn’t need the efficiency of Holy Light.
We did not make these mana cost changes because of the change to critical heals or because of any upcoming set bonuses (which are still being designed, by the way). We made the changes only because paladins were too efficient compared to druids, priests and shaman.”
Could the increased mana costs come around to affect other classes, too? It’s possible. But it sounds to me like this was done to correct an issue with paladins and solely paladins and we’re not in immediate danger of this happening to other classes right now.