Priestly Predictions For 4.3

28 Sep

Within the last few days, we have been inundated with information about everything and anything concerning patch 4.3.  Yesterday, a huge amount of data was released, which covered upcoming class changes, the first images of the hunter and priest T13 sets, and even a few words about class balance from Ghostcrawler himself.  Let’s take a look at what we do know, so far,  with regards to where priests will stand in the next patch.

 ___ of the Dying Light

Our first look at the priest T13 set came out yesterday and it looks a little something like this:



What you may notice right away is that there are three different color schemes for this set.  The one on the left is presumably made up of the pieces that you can get from the new Raid Finder feature, the second one is probably made up of the pieces that you can get from a Normal mode of a raid instance, while the last image on the right is most likely the Heroic version of the set.

I’m pretty pleased with how it all looks.  I like that they incorporated elements of Lightwell into the set, in keeping with the theme of using noteworthy spells from each class as inspiration for the set designs.  The overall theme kind of reminds me of the Royal Flush Gang, from “Batman Beyond” with bits of Jenova thrown in, from “Final Fantasy VII.” 

Information about our T13 set bonuses was released first.  They appear to be, as follows:

  • Healer, 2P— After using Power Infusion or Lightwell, the mana cost of your healing spells is reduced by 25% for [10|15] sec. (10 sec for Discipline, 15 for non–Discipline.)
  • Healer, 4P — Your Power Word: Shield has a 10% chance to absorb 100% additional damage, and the cooldown of your Holy Word abilities is reduced by 20%.

At first glance, it seems like the 2 piece bonus will end up being stronger for discipline priests than it will for holy priests.  The reason being is that discipline priests tend to save Power Infusion for themselves, so having 10 seconds where your spells can be cast at a reduced cost ties in nicely with the benefits of casting that spell.  Lightwell remains a polarizing spell that not every priest, or even every raid can be counted on to use often enough to warrant tying it in with a set bonus of any kind. 

Typically, Lightwell is cast at the start of a pull, where the priest in question may not be casting very many heals for the first 15 seconds afterwards, when the set bonus would take effect.  It may be handy, if a priest needs to cast another Lightwell in the middle of a fight or towards the end, but I still see the bonus that includes Power Infusion being the stronger of the two.  Power Infusion also comes with a 2 minute cooldown, whereas Lightwell has a 3 minute cooldown.  In a 6 minute fight, a discipline priest could enjoy the 2 piece bonus 3 times, and a holy priest would only be able to make use of it twice.  To me, that goes to show that the discipline priest version of the 2 piece T13 bonus is the stronger of the two.

The 4 piece bonus is a bit more exciting, especially in light of potential changes to Holy Word: Sanctuary (which we’ll cover a bit later).  For discipline priests, the 4 piece bonus is pretty stellar.  PW: Shield is a core part of a discipline priest’s rotation, as it not only ties into damage prevention, but goes along well with talents like Borrowed Time and Rapture.

For holy priests, the 4 piece bonus essentially reduces the cooldown of Holy Word: Serenity from 10 seconds to 8 seconds and the cooldown of Holy Word: Sanctuary from 28 seconds to 22 seconds (with points in Tome of Light) or 13 seconds and 32 seconds, respectively without it.  This ties in nicely with HW: Serenity, as the buff to direct heals on your target that comes from this spell only lasts for 6 seconds.  

Casting Serenity off cooldown means your tank would only have a 2 second window where they wouldn’t have the critical effect buff on them, as opposed to a 4 second window before.  This could make holy priests more viable tank healers, but I’m sure more number crunching would be necessary to really determine this.  Still, it looks pretty positive.

Holy Word: Sanctuary was never a spell that holy priests tended to spam and I don’t see that changing with the 4 piece bonus in effect.  What I do see happening is a priest taking comfort in knowing that HW: Sanctuary is available more often, if you do happen to need it.  It’s always better to have the choice to use a spell, rather than not having a choice, due to said spell having an unusually long cooldown.  


Spirit of Redemption

  • Spirit of Redemption has been rebuilt to address a few functionality issues and make it more responsive. Spirit of Redemption otherwise remains unchanged.

I don’t seem to recall having issues with the functionality of SoR or feeling like it was unresponsive.  What I did take issue with was the fact that in most situations where SoR would go into effect, it was probably already too late to save your raid and so the healing that you could be doing wouldn’t make much of a difference.  SoR also tends to delay people who are attempting to battle res you, as they won’t be able to target you while the effect from this talent remains active. 

Lastly, when things go wrong on a progression fight, you typically want to die as quickly as possible, so you can run back.  This usually involves clicking off the effects from this, so you can start your corpse run back to the instance and make another attempt.  All of these things, combined with the fact that SoR no longer gives Spirit anymore (which was established at the start of Cataclysm), still serves to make this talent pretty lackluster.  I don’t see these changes making me want to put a talent point back into this again.


The return of Spirit

Speaking of Spirit, I was pleased to see that the initial batch of datamined items shows some off-set pieces and even weapons with Spirit on them.  I know many holy priests struggled with the loss of Spirit on their gear, leading up to obtaining their T12 set pieces and even beyond that.  I would have liked to have seen some change to our regen mechanics, since we are still extremely dependent on Spirit for mana regeneration, whereas other classes are not.  While Holy Concentration will still be a required talent for holy priests, I also believe that Power Torrent will remain the enchant of choice for our weapons.  You can find more information on my findings relating to Heartsong vs. Power Torrent here.


Glyph of Circle of Healing

  • Glyph of Circle of Healing now also increases the mana cost of Circle of Healing by 20%.

The benefit of healing one more person with Circle of Healing comes at the cost of a 20% increase to the cost of the spell.  I don’t see this changing the value of Circle of Healing, but I do see priests being a bit more careful in how they use it.  We were using Circle of Healing pretty mindlessly, for a while.  Myself included.  We weren’t taking into account whether 5 or even 6 people really needed any healing.  We were just using it to use it, sort of on auto-pilot. 

Both Circle of Healing and Wild Growth (which is also receiving a similar treatment in 4.3, much to the annoyance of druids) have been spells that the developers have constantly tried to monitor and prevent people from spamming, even dating back to Wrath.  This change goes to show that they’re still not happy with the amount of time that we spend using these spells and how much we seem to rely on them to get by. 


Divine Hymn/State of Mind

By far, the biggest news to come out of the last few days has been the major changes to Divine Hymn and State of Mind.  State of Mind has been scrapped and replaced with a talent called Heavenly Voice, which will serve to buff Divine Hymn.  The two of them will work, as follows:

  • Divine Hymn now heals up to 5 targets, up from 3. Maximum of 20 heals, up from 12.
  • State of Mind has been replaced with Heavenly Voice Increases the healing done by your Divine Hymn spell by 50/100%, and reduces the cooldown by 2.5/5 minutes.

This means that every 2 seconds for 8 seconds, Divine Hymn will assess which 5 targets (up from 3) in your raid have the lowest amount of health and then heal them, which is a huge improvement from how Divine Hymn currently works.  The 8 minute cooldown can also be lowered to a very reasonable 3 minutes, with 2 points in Heavenly Voice.

While this is certainly a vast improvement from how Divine Hymn currently operates, I still worry that it won’t be enough.  If you asked a holy priest before what things they liked about their spec and which things they didn’t, you would probably get a wide variety of answers.  Of course, every class has things about themselves that they wish could be better or changed a little bit.  But, by and large, we didn’t know we were a problem or that we were at such a disadvantage until other people told us that we were.

Holy priests can be as pleased with these potential changes to Divine Hymn and State of Mind as we want to, but in the end, it’s not our opinion that matters.  It’s the raid leaders, the healing leads, and the GMs that need to believe in the changes that are going to be made and that need to see that we can bring something just as useful to a raid, even if it’s not what our discipline counterparts bring to the table. 


Ghostcrawler, on priests

Last but not least, some thoughts on priests from the man himself:

We were seeing too many situations where a raid wanted one or even two Disc priests at the expense of a Holy priest. We think part of the problem was Holy’s lack of a strong raid cooldown, so we replaced the State of Mind talent (which was fairly weak ever since Chakra had an unlimited duration) with Heavenly Voice that boosts the healing of Divine Hymn to make it more competitive with Power Word: Barrier. We also increased the number of targets of Divine Hymn from three to five.


We also reduced the mana cost of Power Word: Sanctuary. We think Holy has sufficient AE throughput, but this spell in particular was very expensive.


We wanted to change the Glyph of Circle of Healing to make it less of a no-brainer as I explained above under Wild Growth. In the case of the Holy priest, we thought the healing done by CoH was appropriate (which was not the case for the druid) so we had the glyph increase the mana cost instead. Relying too much on Circle of Healing in inappropriate situations (such as when only a few characters are injured) risks hurting the priest’s efficiency with this glyph.


We rebuilt Spirit of Redemption in a different way. We aren’t trying to change the power of the talent at all, but we did want to make it feel more responsive (less lag between death and Spirit) as well as clean up a few bugs.


I approve.  Do you?


19 Responses to “Priestly Predictions For 4.3”

  1. mescyn September 28, 2011 at 10:01 am #

    It seems we’re going back to the old tendency where if you’re holy you play holy, but if you’re disc you play disc and holy because holy priests cry anytime they have to play disc.

    Having 2 disc priests in a raid is suddenly a big problem, but having 2, 3, or sometimes more holy priests in a raid was not a problem in tier 11, often at the expense of disc priest spots.

    I expect in the forthcoming tier, progression guilds will want no more than 1 disc priest per raid yet again in 25m.

    • Oestrus September 28, 2011 at 10:27 am #

      Hi Mescyn,

      I never enjoyed raiding with other holy priests or even other resto druids, when I played one. It felt like we were canceling each other out and I didn’t enjoy that feeling too much.

      Regarding holy priests who don’t care to play discipline, I think there are a number of reasons why many don’t feel comfortable doing it or simply don’t want to. For me, it was more that I felt forced to do it. It’s one thing if I admit that I’m not cutting it on a fight and I decide to do what’s best to get ahead. It’s another to have someone telling you that you will do it and that you will like it, or else.

      I think it also depends on the abilities of the player, too. Discipline may be better in many ways, but you won’t see the same results if you have someone who has no experience with that spec and is typically more proficient at another spec. A top spec is only a top spec in the hands of the right person.

      Personally, I have become a lot more open to the idea of being discipline, if needed since I started playing Rift. I think it’s because Rift promotes the idea of being more than one spec and has since the beginning. Granted, it’s only been out for six months, but still. You also don’t feel like you have to do it or you’re less than. You have the choice and I think that inspired me to try out new specs more than the threat of losing my raid spot if I didn’t. If I did decide to re-subscribe to World of Warcraft, I could see myself tank healing as a discipline priest. I don’t see myself being very good at raid healing with that spec. I’m certainly more open to the idea, overall. I consider that to be a step in the right direction.

      • mescyn September 28, 2011 at 10:33 am #

        I just feel some holy priests are being hypocritical, since disc has always had to deal with offspeccing holy for those encounters that called for it. Nobody said a single word about that.

        When the shoe is on the other foot, it’s a sign of the apocalypse.

        • Oestrus September 28, 2011 at 10:41 am #

          I’m not sure I know of any fights where a discipline priest was asked to go holy. At least not nearly at the levels that holy priests were experiencing the same issue.

          • mescyn September 28, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

            Any encounter with a lot of raid damage and where barrier wasn’t absolutely vital, disc would often be asked to go holy. If your raid had 1 disc priest, it would be very unlikely for you to recruit a second. If your raid had 1 holy priest, it was perfectly fine to recruit another.

            In normal mode t11, I was holy for about half the encounters. In HM tier 11, I got to play disc significantly more (due to barrier, not for any other reason).

            If holy has a viable raidwall, then I would expect any encounter with a lot of raid damage will default to holy. I think holy is a pretty clunky spec, personally, but whatever.

          • Oestrus September 28, 2011 at 12:17 pm #

            It’s interesting that you would say that, because the guild I started off Cataclysm with (boy, that speaks VOLUMES about me) had two discipline priests and myself and we did quite well with it. I was able to be holy for everything in T11, with the exception of Throne of the Four Winds, which I boycotted and didn’t see much of.

            Based on your last couple sentences, it sounds like you may be indicating that a viable holy raid wall could take precedence over PW: Barrier in situations of heavy raid damage. Do you feel you would be asked to go holy in that situation? Or could you stay discipline and be just fine? I can’t imagine this change to DH would suddenly make discipline undesirable. If anything, the two specs could co-exist and maybe even compliment each other better. I would hope that would be the case.

  2. Viktory September 28, 2011 at 10:02 am #

    Don’t save Power Infusion for yourself, put in on a caster early and often. This 2p will reward you enough, no sense keeping a haste buff to yourself. That said, casting Lolwell mid-raid seems awkward, even if the math works out to the same proportional amount of uptime. Lightwell is still the most mana efficient heal priests have, and with this set bonus, at least you’re getting something for casting it, even if your raid won’t use it. Toss it next to the tank, he’s likely to click the hell out of it.

  3. Jasyla September 28, 2011 at 10:22 am #

    I’m happy that Holy priests are getting some buffs. And I LOVE the look of T13.

    The more I read about the Divine Hymn buff though, the more confused I am. (disclaimer that I am not a priest theorycrafter, or even good at math).

    The current Divine Hymn says: heals for 4009 every 2 sec for 8 sec (on 3 players). With the change and new Heavenly Voice talent that will change to 8018 every 2 seconds (on 5 players). It also increases healing done to those targets by 10%.

    Tranquility heals 5 people with low health for 3882 plus an additional 343 every 2 sec over 8 sec. So, unless I’m really misunderstanding something, a Holy Priest’s Divine Hymn will now heal almost 2x as much as a Druid’s Tranquility? That seems like a lot.

    • Oestrus September 28, 2011 at 10:32 am #

      I think you’re right, Jasyla. And that’s not even including spell coefficients, talents, Chakra states, etc.

      I’m interested to see the math on how the two stack up, when you take all of those things into consideration. I would imagine that DH would still heal for more, but I would like to think that I could be surprised by the outcome.

      Now I know why someone made a comment about holy priests getting revenge on resto druids on Twitter this morning!

    • Velidra September 28, 2011 at 10:42 am #

      I doubt it will work out to be twice as much once bonus’s etc are applied. At the most basic level resto druids get 25% bonus healing, while holy priests only get 15%.

      • Juvenate September 28, 2011 at 11:58 am #

        Yes, but Chakra: Sanctuary buffs Holy bonus healing an additional 15% which Divine Hymn benefits from since it’s considered an AoE heal.

        With that being said, I’d take a guess that Blizz wouldn’t want to overtune DH to overtake Tranq in a throughput race. However, the +healing of DH will likely make the it a more preferred CD. If that’s the case, Tranq should heal for more to compensate.

        Sounds like we should do some testing on the PTR!

        *** EDIT ***

        (Added additional comment to this one, in the interest of space.)

        Overall, I’m not 100% satisfied with the changes, BUT they are a step in the right direction. I’m not exactly excited for a buffed DH, but I’ll take it over having another raid tier with no viable raidwall.

        The Glyph of Circle of Healing is an interesting change. 25man Holy Priests will likely keep the glyph and 10man Priests will probably drop it.

        I love the T13 look. It had me thinking of V for Vendetta.

        The T13 bonuses are a bit odd. I guess for 4.3 I will be using Lightwell as a mana CD where it will get the most benefit. The healing it has will just be a perk.

        At first I was upset about the 4-piece, but now that they’ve announced a mana reduction to HW:Santc, it actually is much better than I thought. It’s still a bit boring, but it allows for more uptime with HW:Sanct which increases the throughput by a decent amount. The spell is still situational, but it’s now in a much better place than what it was

        • Juvenate September 28, 2011 at 11:59 am #

          Sorry for my awful grammar! Stupid comments can’t be edited.

          • Oestrus September 28, 2011 at 12:09 pm #

            I don’t see any awful grammar in your comment. But then again, it’s me and I probably commit grammar atrocities daily.


  4. Velidra September 28, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    When it comes down to DH Vs Barrier in T13, honestly I think its going to depend a lot on the type of raid damage we see.

    In T11 we saw a lot of “one shot unless you use a raid wall” type damage, as such barrier was extremely potent. However with T12 we’ve seen more constant AE damage, which allows healing “raid walls” to be more potent.

    More to the point… disc vs holy? Keep in mind those GMs, raid and healing leads will be reading stuff you put out there and taking it into account when they decide their raid make up, when they tell player X that they should be Y spec. They don’t know everything, they read EJ, they watch to see what world firsts are done with. And so on.

    tbh I think the whole holy/disc thing is well and truely over done for this tier, holy does fine, if not as flexable as disc. Disc can raid or tank heal without to much hassle, while holys tank healing (seems) lack luster. Granted discs raid healing has its own issues to work through.

  5. Arazu September 28, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    They typically always make 3 color schemes for tier sets (sometimes even four), however it’s looking like this time they’ll actually use all three.

    I would’ve killed for that darker version of warrior t11, but they didn’t end up using it for anything. Blue-version warrior t12 is also unobtainable, since they made 3 schemes and only used two.

  6. Tomaj September 29, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    For the moment, I will hold off on commenting about Divine Hymn, since my opinion is mostly boiled down to “AND THE ARMS RACE CONTINUES LOLOLOLOL.”


    Anyway, I’d actually hope the gold set would be for the hardmode set, just because it’s the most awesome looking of the three (which are all awesome). Mind you, none of these will be obtainable for me, just sayin’.

  7. Pirika October 1, 2011 at 1:13 am #

    Some comments about holy:

    I do actually ‘spam’ my sanctuary on certain fights. By spam, I mean every time it’s available, I cast it. Whereas, when I’m in serenity, the little heal from it is great, but because I’m so focused on healing, 9x out of 10, I forget to cast it. 😮 Thankfully, I’m more of a raid healer than a single target healer. 😛

    I am glyphed to SoR, because whether you know it or not, you can res/mass res while in that state, so long as the whole group is out of combat. (SoR is 15secs, mass res is 9.2.. you really have to be the last person to die in order for the spell to go through.. but it’s always worth a shot in my group. :P) I also have a ‘cancel’ button for SoR.. so when it’s a wipe that we all just need to die real quick, I can hit my cancel and I’m done. Whereas, if it’s a matter of keeping people alive long enough to get that battle res, I can stay up the whole 15secs. That’s part of what mumble/vent is for. 🙂

    I’m actually kinda peeved about CoH. It doesn’t really heal for crap, so when I see 3+ people around 90% of their health, I cast it so that they have my 6 ticks on them. Otherwise, because of how high the health pools are, CoH is a really crappy heal that I only use/spam when we’re taking massive AoE damage, just so those ticks are on people that might not’ve been hit by my PoH, which is a MUCH stronger AoE heal. Sure, the quick cast is great, but it’s never saved my raid or made a huge difference in top level raids.. for me at least. I’ll definitely be removing the point from that and putting it into the new talents for hymn, which will be an awesome CD if it works anywhere near as good as it sounds. I really wish they would fix it so that you don’t need to have a friendly target or no target in order to cast an AoE heal.. and I also wish the heals were somewhat smart, like shaman heals. As it stands, we have no idea who is going to get healed when (if I can even cast, it’s a pain having to escape out all the time just so i can cast an AoE heal.) I cast PoH or CoH.. it used to go to the group that I was in, now it’s so random it makes my head spin. I really do hope they fix it.. I’ve written to the devs about it. 😛

    I actually don’t like the new tier pieces. *dont hit me!* I think plate wearers tend to get a better, more form fitting set.. whereas us cloth/priest types tend to get these enormous monstrosities for gear. What piece of cloth ever looks like THAT? 😛 I do like the lolwell comparison, but to make it look more.. I dunno.. inviting? I’m looking forward to transmog so I can go back to the older tiers.. like tier 8 or so. 😛

    The part that makes me most sad is the tier bonuses.. you hit the nail on the head.. it’s completely focused towards Disc priests.. I won’t be going after my tier as whole heartedly as I went for the 2P for current T12. The increased regen benefits from the 2P set cater to both disc and holy.. which is how it SHOULD be.. in my opinion. It’s too bad the next tier isn’t more universal. I am glad to see spirit making a come back though, so perhaps we’ll be able to just enjoy our cloth gear and continue becoming stronger healers. 🙂

    As much as GC was trying to say that holy priests have great AoE healing.. Druids are still (even with the upcoming changes) stronger. You’d think it would be the other way around, seeing as druids can pretty much be anything.. but they are and continue to be the OP healing class.. especially when played properly. I’m quite happy being a holy priest, wouldn’t particularly change it for the world.. but it would be really awesome if I was even slightly comparable to the other two healers in my group. (10m)

    • Tomaj October 1, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

      Mmmm, /cancelaura macro for SoR. (Which I also had tied to Mind Control and Mind Vision, actually, because they messed up Mind Vision to where you can’t move to cancel it, and I used it quite frequently to mark trash in BoT).

      • Pirika October 2, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

        Yup! I have a cancel spell macro, as well as the cancel aura.. since when you’re doing Alysrazor, the feathers make it so that you can’t just take a step forward to get out of the cast.. myself and all of the other healers in my group were getting super frustrated, so we all made a macro so we wouldn’t waste heals on tanks with bleed effects. 😛

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