Priest 4 Piece Bonus & Paladin Mana Cost Clarification

13 May

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. 

About that:

  • 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.


8 Responses to “Priest 4 Piece Bonus & Paladin Mana Cost Clarification”

  1. Ceraphus May 13, 2011 at 7:42 am #

    One can only wonder if increasing the throughput of Holy Light, increasing the mana cost there, and slightly increasing the cost of Divine Heal may not have made Holy Light more appealing, but also cost more, but blanketing all healing spells with increased mana use, not sure thats the right answer

    I have a hard enough time finding us holy pallies as it is now (for some reason)

  2. Oestrus May 13, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    I know very little about holy paladins, but it does sound like they have been consistently getting the short end of the stick for most of this expansion. The friend of ours that’s joining us on the podcast this weekend actually quit the game for partially that very reason.

    I always think it’s funny when I hear some classes say how bad they have it, because I think paladins tend to have it way worse. But that’s just my opinion, of course.

  3. V May 13, 2011 at 9:16 am #

    There’s a really simple solution for the mana issue (in my opinion) that would trickle down to solve another issue.

    Mana cost increases by character level until 85, but then disappears as an issue even though the mana pools and throughput get larger and larger with new gear.

    I think that after 85 they should scale mana cost with item level. That way, the new gear wouldn’t have such a drastic effect on efficiency and people would be far less likely to try to pad their item levels with gear they can’t actually use, since they’d be penalized for it.

    Obviously something would have to be implemented considering that some healer classes have the option of melee off-specs, but I think it could work out somehow.

    • Oestrus May 13, 2011 at 9:28 am #

      That’s actually not a bad idea and I think if people knew that as their gear got better, the costs would increase, that could stand to keep people in line with the triage style of healing that Blizzard intended healers to sort of follow when Cataclysm came out.

      Or it could have the reverse effect of people maybe refusing certain upgrades, so they can keep costs down and not have to pay more to use their favorite spells. You know some players will go against the grain, even if it sometimes leads to people not making the smartest decisions.

      • V May 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

        Yeah, I could see that. Hopefully gear won’t start being any more forgiving than it is now, though. :B

        I hope they come up with some sort of decent solution; seems like it would make it even more difficult for a new 85 to even establish a solid set of gear with mana costs going up like that.

  4. Joe Ego May 13, 2011 at 12:07 pm #

    I see the big problem with paladins as the nature of their toolbox. Everything revolves around the 3 main heals and, since 4.0, Holy Shock. When Blizzard gave everyone 3 standard direct heals it was a big change to paladins and gave us interesting choices. Other healers have specialized spells and it is not unusual for none of the 3 basic heals to appear in their top 3 sources of output.

    I find myself in two situations:
    1) Big spike damage – on the tank or anywhere in the raid. I cast Divine Light and maybe Radiance if we’re stacked, spending a lot of mana.
    2) Normal/light damage to my assignments – I take care of my assignments, ignore most of the light to moderate raid damage, and try to regen some mana.

    A different class, like one of our priests always hurting for mana, sees three situations:
    1) Big damage on tank or raid – use a variety of spells to heal but, regardless of relative efficiency, spend a lot of mana.
    2) Normal/light damage to my assignments – use a variety of spells to heal, still spending mana but at a reduced rate.
    3) Very light damage – finally try to regen, cry for Mana Tide, etc.

    In environments where healers are not completely trusting each other, players will cast the spells which get the job done. paladins have a larger gap in spell capabilities and so will tend to spend a lot less mana compared to other healers during certain phases. Other healers, however, are not spending less mana compared to paladins in the other phases.

    Plus paladins have excellent regen tools.

    All that said, I love my paladin.

    • Oestrus May 13, 2011 at 12:43 pm #

      I hate to make it seem like because I personally am not experiencing something that it isn’t actually happening. But in my raids, I don’t think any of our healers have had a problem with mana and I don’t recall any of the paladins being called out for being incredibly mana efficient or not using enough mana. In fact, there are some nights our healing lead (who is a holy paladin) will pot more than I will.

      I’d be curious to know which spec your mana starved priest is and why they’re having such trouble with that. One of the problems with having too many choices is not knowing which heal is best for which situation. You either have people that are going with the lighter heals more often, thinking it works better and they’re not really helping or the people that spam the big heals all the time and are broke (mana wise) because of it. It can be tough for someone to find that happy medium.

      You bring up an excellent point about trusting your healers and knowing how your healing core works. Right now, I don’t have to go “all out” all the time, because everyone tends to bring their A game and they all work really hard. You don’t feel like anyone is not putting in their share. In that case, you would have every right to limit your spell usage or only use certain spells, because it’s not necessary to do more. You’re very right about that and I think Blizzard may not have taken that into consideration when they made this decision – that so many reasons why players are doing what they do is because of the comp that they are a part of and how that comp works.

      Sorry for the wall of text – I just agreed with a lot of what you had to say and felt I should say that and why.


  5. Tomaj May 14, 2011 at 5:51 am #

    Re: 4-piece bonus. Originally, I was optimistic about it, but then I considered that more and more, Blizzard are trying to push way too hard to have priests rely on other people’s actions to contribute to their healing. Since it’s part of the set bonus, it’s most definitely taken into account for raid balancing for T12. The ToC-esque Lightwell for the set bonus is a nice change, and ultimately, I think it’ll be more beneficial than the possible randomness of color, situational awareness, communication, etc.

    I do, however, share the concerns about how it will work in terms of cooldown. Obviously, this will be great for any tank-healing priest, but I can definitely see the drawbacks for a raid healing priest in any encounter where spreading out is better in certain situations (Al’akir, Chimaeron, Omnotron, Halfus).

    Re: Paladin nerfs. Part of this is probably also an (unstated) PvP nerf. Honestly, I have almost no risk of going OOM in PvP, unless there’s a priest that is absolutely intent on mana burning and doing nothing else (arena), or I’m getting focused (anywhere else). However, I do notice even in normal modes, anytime we have our paladin, he’s almost never running low on mana, but myself and our shaman run low pretty frequently (and our disc priest when we have her instead of our paladin).

    All in all, I could probably point to my mana regen post I wrote not too long ago. If anything, it’s most likely due to Seal of Insight, and not due to the actual mana costs of spells that paladins are still having so much mana at the end of the fight. Never mind human and blood elves get much better benefit than any other races for paladin mana regen as it is (for alliance and horde, respectively)…

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