Tag Archives: Mists Of Pandaria

Time’s Up

22 Aug

I had originally intended to make what I’m about to say in this post a topic for conversation on the next episode of my new podcast, but I felt like it might feel better to get these words and thoughts out of my head and on to paper – or the closest thing to paper that I have, which is my blog.  I feel like getting things off your chest feels differently, depending on the method in which you choose to do it. 

Lately I have been feeling very overwhelmed.  It started right around the time that the release date for Mists of Pandaria was confirmed.  The officers of my guild had decided that they would like us, the raiders to be 90 ideally within a week, but for sure within two weeks of release.  This coincides with the pre-release weekend for Return to Ravnica, a highly anticipated expansion of Magic the Gathering that I and many others are very excited about.  Since I have come back to the game, I have made it to the last two pre-release weekends without fail.  I had every intention of making this one, too, but with the race to hit level 90, I realized I may not be able to make it.  This really bothered me.

Then my boyfriend and I decided to reconcile and start down the path of giving our relationship another shot.  He lives in Chicago.  One of the issues that came up during our initial break up was the fact that we weren’t spending enough time together.  Back then we were seeing each other every other weekend, sometimes every third weekend, mostly due to his work schedule.  When we agreed to give things another try, it came up in conversation that we may have to try stepping things up to every weekend or three weekends out of the month.  This was something I was fine with at the time, but when combined with everything else that I have going on started to make me feel like I was suffocating. 

So, let’s see.  Three days a week raiding, plus Fridays for Friday Night Magic, plus my blog, plus my podcast, plus being a guest host on other people’s podcasts, plus finding time to socialize with my friends and to see my family, plus work 40+ hours a week, and have weekends to spend traveling for the occasional Magic tournament or other type of event, and manage to maintain a healthy relationship with my boyfriend.  How am I supposed to juggle all of this?

Even the first two weeks of Mists seem incredibly daunting to me.  The expansion comes out on September 25th, which is a Tuesday.  I’m not going to burn a vacation day on launch day, for various reasons.  I decided to take the one vacation day that I had available and use it on that Friday, instead.  So starting on Tuesday, I will be coming home from work around 4:30, eating dinner, leveling from about 6pm to 11pm, going to bed, and then doing the same thing on Wednesday and Thursday.  Friday through Sunday would be spent primarily leveling, most likely missing the Return to Ravnica pre-release, and then doing the same 6pm to 11pm grind every day the week after until I’m level 90.  Then comes the grind for gear and rep, so that I can be raid ready.  I’m exhausted just typing this.

Let’s say that I eliminate World of Warcraft from the equation.  Admittedly, this clears up a lot of my week.  Let’s say that I play only Magic and podcast, while blogging occasionally.  I’m already only playing Magic one day a week right now and that’s on Fridays.  Every weekend that I spend with the boyfriend rules Friday Night Magic completely out.  Typically I take the Amtrak to Chicago on Friday afternoons after work and I get down there around 7:30pm.  Most Friday Night Magic events start well before then.  I could start playing Magic Online and play during the week, but I’m leery about having to build an online card collection, in addition to an actual one.  I also worry that playing Magic Online will simply become a substitute for World of Warcraft and I’ll find myself tethered to the computer again during the week.  It would be like substituting one addiction or vice for another. 

Then there is the issue of traveling.  One of the things that excited me the most about getting back into Magic again was the opportunity to play in more large scale events across the country.  I had originally intended to stick to states that were nearby, like Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, etc.  But I have been very fortunate to meet people in states that are a bit farther away from me that I could go visit and even crash with, too.  I could visit Seattle if I wanted to, or Los Angeles, or even New York.  The possibilities are endless.  I can’t do those things if I have a boyfriend, or a boyfriend that my weekends are pretty much devoted to.  Most of the Magic events I’m interested in take place on the weekends.  How would I manage that?

I’m pretty sure this would be an issue, even if my boyfriend didn’t live an hour or so away from me.  Even if I met a guy locally, what guy is going to be okay with a girlfriend who is essentially booked a minimum of three days out of the week (for a computer game, no less) and possibly an additional day or even a weekend (for a card game), and who spends most of her free time working on a blog and a podcast about said games, even when she isn’t playing them?  Having all of this going on doesn’t necessarily make me serious girlfriend material.  It all leads back to the inevitable feeling that I have that something has to go.

I talked about this a little bit with the boyfriend last night and he didn’t have too much to say about it.  He is someone who was a hardcore gamer for a long time and made the switch to being extremely casual, to the point where he now only plays a handful of X-Box games and board games with friends from time to time.  That was something he was glad to do.  He was happy to give up the schedules and the responsibilities and to make other things in his life a priority.  I’m not so sure that I’m at that point yet.  I like my life the way that it is.  I also like being able to do things to the level of satisfaction that I want to do them.  I don’t want to do eight different things, just to say that I’m doing them.  I want to do them and feel like I’m doing them well.  I don’t feel like I can do that right now.  Something is going to suffer.  Something would have to suffer.

I really don’t know what to do.  I don’t know how I can pull all of this off.  I like where I’m at and I feel like I worked hard to get here.  It would be one thing if I weren’t enjoying something anymore and I chose to walk away from it because I hated it.  It would be one thing if something was being taken from me against my will, like Blizzard was no longer making expansions or Wizards stopped making Magic cards.  I have so many things that I love to do and so many people that I love spending time with and seemingly not enough time to spend on everything.  That doesn’t sit right with me.  It feels like a cop out to say that’s why I would be giving up something.

It’s just like Moroes says, “Time… Never enough time.”

Advertisements

That’s A Wrap

16 Jun

This afternoon I had a conversation with Ophelie that led to her admitting that she no is longer interested in recording our show, the Double O Podcast together.  It has nothing to do with me as a person.  It’s not that we do not get along or anything on a personal level.  There is no drama to be had or anything like that.  She has just lost a lot of interest in World of Warcraft and hasn’t been participating in the community like she used to (e.g. her blog, Twitter), so I kind of had a feeling that this was something that was going to start affecting the show and it has.

This leaves me with three options:

1)  I can try to find a new co-host – an honorary “O,” if you will, since it’s highly unlikely that I would meet someone whose name happens to start with “O” and that I mesh well with.  Preferably this person would have some knowledge or desire to learn how to handle the editing or the behind the scenes aspects of the podcast, whereas I would continue handling the more social aspects of the show (e.g. promotion, finding guests, coming up with topics).

2)  I can move on from the Double O Podcast and perhaps join another existing podcast that is looking for a guest host.  I really do enjoy podcasting and I admit that there are so many sides to it that I still have yet to see or to understand.  I think podcasting is a great way to get people talking and to expand your audience in a way that blogging can’t.

3)  I can stop podcasting altogether and focus on my blog and other community efforts (e.g. spend more time posting on forums like Elitist Jerks, MMO-Champion, or the official boards).

Without sounding too dramatic, I feel like my walls are caving in.  I have already been dealing with uncertainties regarding what I want to do in Mists of Pandaria, then this comes along, and now this.  I keep wondering who is next.  It seems like everyday someone else I know, someone I admire, or that I respect, or someone that I have some genuine history with decides to call it a day and stops playing World of Warcraft.  It’s like a demented game of Guess Who and I’m the one in front of the board just flipping faces down, one by one.  There aren’t many faces still standing anymore and that’s mighty depressing to me.

Am I next?

First Impressions of Holy In the Mists of Pandaria Beta

22 Apr

The other day I was one of the lucky ones who received a Beta invite during the final wave of invites that Blizzard sent out.  I had heard a lot about what was happening with discipline, but I wasn’t hearing too much about holy.  This worried me a little bit.  While most of what I’m curious about involves our level 90 talents (which we can’t try out at this time), I still managed to do some questing, heal the first available instance a couple of times, and do some playing around on my own with our new talents and abilities for a while.  Here are a few things that stood out to me, in no particular order:

Triage healing is back

Triage healing is the style of healing that the developers tried to make a new way of life for healers in Cataclysm that really only lasted as long as it took us to gear up for T11 raid content.  Once we started equipping epic quality gear that mentality sort of went out the window.  Triage healing is fine when you are the only one responsible for keeping a party up.  But when you are in a raid with five other healers and each of you is practicing triage healing, people are going to end up being topped off whether you like it or not.  It also doesn’t hold up well as a method of healing once you have the gear to support being able to top people off frivolously in certain settings.  When you are wearing nothing but Heroic quality blue gear or you are coming into Mists of Pandaria with 100,000 mana (as most of us are) every mana point counts.  This will be even more true given the fact that Intellect is not going to increase the size of our mana pools like it did before.  I predict the triage style of healing will last a little longer than it did in Cataclysm, which will of course mean that tanks and DPS will have to play smarter in the long run, because we simply won’t have the mana to keep them up through mistakes or other kinds of accidents.

For the first few times that I healed Temple of the Jade Serpent I didn’t find mana to be a problem.  I did have to use my shadowfiend (which now comes with a 4 minute cooldown) and I did use Arcane Torrent on cooldown, but I didn’t have to use a mana potion, or ask for any other kind of outside assistance.  I healed the instance like I would heal any other 5 man right now.  I spent my time in Chakra: Serenity.  I used Renew as a spot heal for when individual DPS got low on health.  I used Prayer of Healing for when the whole party was taking damage.  I made sure to drop the Lightwell, which is a fantastic tool for times when you are trying to be thrifty with your mana.  I admit that I didn’t get a chance to use Void Shift, mostly because nobody in my party was really in any sort of jeopardy where I felt I had to use it.  Overall, the experiences that I had in Temple of the Jade Serpent didn’t take me outside of my comfort zone and I felt that I was able to shift back into that triage healing mindset rather easily.

New toys? For me?

Our revamped talent trees come with some new things for us to play with and even a few old favorites that work a little differently than you may be used to.

In the first tier we have Void Tendrils, Psyfiend, and Dominate Mind.  The first two talents seem like talents that you would use in a PVE setting when Fade fails you and you have the unwanted attention of some mobs. Dominate Mind is more of a form of crowd control that we have always had at our disposal, with varying degrees of success (e.g. Mind Control). Void Tendrils seems to work more along the lines of how most tanks would prefer that a healer respond to unwanted aggro.  The tendrils allow you to root the mobs in place and then run towards the tank.  Psyfiend works more like Psychic Scream, which is the way that you should not go about responding to having enemy targets locked on to you.  Using any kind of fear effect will cause the mobs to most likely run all over the place, which makes it harder for the tank to pick them up and to reestablish aggro, and could even possibly lead to those mobs pulling more mobs. Because you can’t target who Psyfiend chooses to cast fear on, you can’t glyph for it to make them stay in place when under the effects of fear (like you can with Psychic Scream), and because it lasts for 30 seconds, I feel this is the more dangerous option for PVE.  Dominate Mind is still highly unreliable and breaks far too easily, much like Mind Control always has, but has been redesigned to allow you to potentially control the mind of any enemy target, except for Mechanical type creatures.  This is a welcome change from the “humanoids only” clause that Mind Control now comes with.

Our second tier of talents now includes Body and Soul, Feathers From Heaven, and Phantasm.  Body and Soul remains the same as it is now, while Phantasm takes what is now a talent that is only found in the shadow tree and makes it available for all priests (with a little bit of an extra kick). Feathers From Heaven is a lot like the Wild Mushroom: Bloom spell that druids have.  This spell allows you to drop up to three feathers that friendly targets can run through or near and pick up a temporary speed boost from.  The effects of the feathers do not stack, so if someone decides to run through them all, they won’t get the benefit of moving even faster. Feathers From Heaven does not use a global cooldown, so it is possible to drop all three feathers rather quickly and then go back to doing whatever it is that you needed to do (which will most likely be healing).  I think this talent is kind of neat and I haven’t quite dismissed it the way that some other priests that are currently in the Beta have.

The talents that you have to choose from once you reach level 45 are From Darkness, Comes Light and Archangel.  Divine Star was temporarily moved down to this tier, but was recently bumped back up to the level 90 tier, so there is a hole where our third talent in this tier should be. From Darkness, Comes Light (the comma in that one really bothers me) is what we currently know as Surge of Light.  With two talents points invested in it, Surge of Light currently gives you a 6% chance when you cast Smite, Heal, Flash Heal, Binding Heal, or Greater Heal to cause your next Flash Heal to be instant cast and cost no mana.  This talent didn’t quite make much of an impact outside of 5 mans and even then we could take it or leave it.  In Mists of Pandaria, you will now have a 2o% chance to cause your next Flash Heal to be instant cast and cost no mana.  That is quite an increase! I noticed that this talent was triggering a lot more when I was healing in the Beta and it felt really nice.  We have already established that Binding Heal currently gives you a 6% chance per person healed (for a total of a 12% chance) to trigger Surge of Light.  This means that provided it stays that way in Mists of Pandaria, which it feels like it is, you will now have a 40% chance to trigger the talent, which is quite nice.  Evangelism is going to be an ability that every priest will have available to them, which means Archangel is a talent that you may want to consider picking up.  The only reason I would have taken Archangel, the chance to get 1% mana back for each stack of Evangelism, has been completely removed in Mists of Pandaria.  It now just gives increases your healing done.  That’s not bad, but I think taking out the opportunity to get mana back when we are going to need to watch our mana pools and how we use our mana really caused this talent to lose some value to me.

The level 60 talents include Desperate Prayer, Void Shift, and Angelic Bulwark.  Desperate Prayer is something most holy priests know and love in Cataclysm and won’t be changing at all in Mists of Pandaria.  Void Shift is something that I haven’t tried out for myself yet, but allows you to swap health percentages with a friendly target and then it heals the target with the lowest health for 25% of their health.  The important thing to remember about Void Shift is that it lets you swap health percentages, not health points.  So if you are at 75% health and your tank is at 20% health, you bump him or her up to 75% health and you go down to 20% health. Angelic Bulwark is also something that I haven’t tried out yet, mostly because I’m not sure how I feel about it.  On the one hand, Angelic Bulwark can proc at least once every 90 seconds, which beats Desperate Prayer’s 2 minute cooldown.  Desperate Prayer also requires you to remember to use it, whereas Angelic Bulwark triggers automatically once you reach a certain percentage of health and gives you the time to get healed back up to a reasonable amount of health again.  Angelic Bulwark temporarily shields you from incoming damage, which allows you or someone else the time to react to that and heal you back up, whereas Desperate Prayer just heals you when you need it most. No muss, no fuss.

Our fifth tier of talents gives us Twist of Fate, Power Infusion, and Divine Insight.  Power Infusion really needs no introduction.  Divine Insight is what we now know as Serendipity and works exactly the same as it does in Live. Twist of Fate is a twist (no pun intended) on what we now know as Test of Faith, but it now gives you 15% increased damage or healing done to targets at or below 20% health.  I don’t like this.  Kelesti pointed out to me that this talent is probably going to function better as an Execute type talent for shadow priests than it will as any sort of beneficial healing talent for holy or discipline priests and I agree with her on that.  I think unless you are healing a niche fight where people are going to be low quite often, having someone be at 20% or below shouldn’t happen that often where you need a talent to increase your healing when it does.  It doesn’t feel right to me.

A few small repairs

In addition to some new talents and spells that we have received, I was pleasantly surprised by some changes that were made to a few of our older spells or spells that we have had for quite some time.  Lightwell now comes with a base 15 charges and you can glyph for it for an extra 2 charges.  I think Lightwell is going to really shine at a time when we are going into an expansion where mana efficiency is going to be so important to us.  You really can’t get any more mana efficient than Lightwell.  Mass Dispel can now remove up to 100 harmful spells from a friendly target or 100 beneficial spells from an enemy target, which is a noticeable increase from the up to 10 harmful or beneficial spells (1 harmful or beneficial spell from up to 10 people) that it can dispel now.  Purify removes all harmful magic effects or diseases on a target, up from the 2 harmful spells or 1 disease that Dispel Magic or Cure Disease would normally remove.

Overall, I am happy to finally be in the Beta and to be able to test things personally and to see what works for me.  I’m excited to try out our level 90 talents and see what the upcoming raid content is going to look and feel like.  I’m anxious to be able to submit feedback and changes that I think could positively affect my playing experience and that of other holy priests.  I’ll be sure to blog often about things that I experience, so feel free to check back often or leave a comment about what you’re experiencing and we can compare notes.

Happy hunting!

Mists Of Pandaria Beta – The Morning After

22 Mar

While I was not one of the first few to receive a Beta invite, I did pay close attention to all of the information that was trickling down through Twitter, MMO Champion, and WoW Insider.  I figured I would start compiling all of the priest based information and share my thoughts on what we do know about various things that could affect us, so far.  As with anything that comes out of the Beta, this information could change at any time. 

Let’s begin!

 

Glyphs

*  Glyph of Circle Healing – Your Circle of Healing spell heals 1 additional target, but its mana cost is increased by 35%. 

Currently, the glyph only increases the cost of Circle of Healing by 20%.  While this may sound like the new version of the glyph is going to make Circle of Healing even more costly, it actually makes sense when you consider how much larger our mana pools in the next expansion are going to be – what with the staggering amounts of Intellect that we can expect from even green and blue quality gear. 

*  Glyph of Dispel Magic – Your Dispel Magic spell also damages your target for ___ Holy damage when you successfully dispel a magical effect.

The current incarnation of this glyph heals a friendly target for 3% of their health when you successfully dispel a magic effect from them.  This new version seems to be a bit more aggressive, as it will only see any use against hostile targets, and not friendly ones.  I wonder if this glyph implies that we may be doing some offensive dispelling in a PVE setting, or if this is just something that priests who PVP may get some use out of.

*  Glyph of Fortitude – Reduces the mana cost of your Power Word: Fortitude spell by 90%.

Currently, Glyph of Fortitude reduces the cost of your Power Word: Fortitude by 50%.  This glyph is usually taken simply for lack of any other minor glyphs to take, and it can help reduce the cost of having to re-buff someone if they come back from receiving a battle res. 

*  Glyph of Holy Fire – Your Holy Fire spell is now instant.

This is great news for Atonement priests, for whom Holy Fire is a staple in their rotation.  The faster you can get Holy Fire out, the faster you can dish out some more Smite, or focus on healing the tank or the raid. 

*  Glyph of Inner Sanctum – Spell damage taken is reduced by 6% while within Inner Fire, and the movement speed bonus of your Inner Will is increased by 6%.

This glyph does exactly what the talent called Inner Sanctum in the discipline tree does right now, which leads me to believe that this talent may be on the chopping block, and replaced with this.  I consider Inner Sanctum to be a staple for anyone doing Heroic raid content, so this is probably something I would suggest that you pick up when that time comes. 

*  Glyph of Leap of Faith – Your Leap of Faith spell now also clears all movement impairing effects from your target.

Leap of Faith is already useful for pulling people out of things that they shouldn’t be standing in or for pulling people close to you who need to get somewhere fast.  With this glyph, it also means that Leap of Faith can help pull people to you who may not have been able to get to you, otherwise.  This may see some use in a PVE setting, but I think it will see a lot more use in PVP. 

*  Glyph of Lightwell – Increases the total amount of charges of your Lightwell by 2.

This glyph could be considered a bit of a nerf, as the current version gives you 5 additional charges, instead of just 2.  Assuming that Lightwell comes with the same amount of charges (10), this means your raid will only have access to 12 charges, instead of 15.  I don’t think it’s going to cause a dramatic loss of healing or affect us in a huge way, but it is certainly a noticeable change, and one that I am not too pleased about.

*  Glyph of Penance – Reduces the mana cost of Penance by 20%, but increases the cooldown by 2 seconds.

Currently, Glyph of Penance reduces the cooldown of Penance by 2 seconds.  The updated version serves to do the opposite – it increases the cooldown by the same duration of time, but also reduces the cost by 20%. 

While I don’t have too much experience with discipline, I do know that Penance was never something that anyone really spammed, or used on cooldown.  It is best used in situations where someone needs a fast, emergency heal, or for when you need to build stacks of Grace on someone (usually the tank).  I don’t see this glyph really changing this in any real way.

*  Glyph of Renew – Your Renew heals for 33% more each time it heals, but its duration is reduced by ___ seconds.

The way Renew works right now is that it generates one tick of healing every 3 seconds (or 4 ticks) for 12 seconds, but you can gain extra ticks depending on how much Haste you have.  At 12.50% Haste, you can receive one extra tick from Renew (5).  A second tick can be gained by reaching 37.50% Haste (6).  The duration of the spell itself doesn’t change, just how many ticks are included in it.

Let’s say for example that this new version of the glyph will shave off 3 seconds from the duration of Renew.  That essentially means that Renew will generate one tick of healing every 3 seconds (or 3 ticks) for 9 seconds, with the extra ticks still becoming available once you reach certain Haste breakpoints. 

The current incarnation of this glyph increases your overall healing from Renew by 10%.  Let’s use the amount stated in the tooltip for Renew to do some math here.

 

 

Right now:

1224 healing  x 10% = 122.4
1224 + 122 = 1346
1346 healing  x 4 ticks = 5384

Now let’s add this all up, assuming that we were using the newer version of the glyph.

1224 healing x 33% = 403.9
1224 + 403 = 1627
1627 healing x 3 ticks = 4881

So assuming that Renew works the way that it does in Cataclysm, this appears to me like the glyph will result in a loss of healing – not an increase.  Factoring in Divine Touch could close the gap, but it still seems like an awful lot of work just to net the same results from a spell that we shouldn’t be relying on too heavily to begin with.

*  Glyph of Spirit of Redemption – Increases the duration of Spirit of Redemption by 10 seconds.

In Mists of Pandaria, Spirit of Redemption is looking like it is going to become a passive ability or talent that every holy priest will end up having.  My thought is if they are going to basically make us take it that they can throw in a little incentive to make it more enjoyable for us.  This glyph could serve to do just that.

There is also another glyph floating around with an unfinished name that indicates we may be receiving some kind of instant cast heal that can only be used while under the effects of Spirit of Redemption.  I’m excited to see what that turns out like, if it even makes it to Live at all.

 

Enchants

The Heartsong v. Power Torrent debate was easily one of the most talked about topics amongst healers of all classes in this expansion.  Priests were certainly no exception to this.  It looks like Blizzard has decided to take the guesswork out of all this and created one enchant to please everyone. 

*  Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit:  Permanently enchants a melee weapon to sometimes increase your Intellect by 1650 when healing or dealing damage with spells.  If less than 25% of your mana remains when the effect is triggered, your Spirit will also increase by 750.  Requires a level 384 or higher item. 

 

So what do you think?  Do you like what you have seen or read about so far?  Were you one of the lucky few to obtain a Beta invite?  Leave a comment and let me know what’s on your mind.

Initial Thoughts On The Mists Of Pandaria Priest Changes

24 Oct

This weekend, I was one of the 26,000 people in Anaheim, California to attend BlizzCon 2011.  I was there bright and early on Friday morning, for the opening ceremonies and for the preview panel that came shortly after that.  As expected, the trailer for the next expansion, Mists of Pandaria was released and there was much discussion afterwards about upcoming changes to our characters and many of the systems or mechanics, at large.

I was particularly interested in the proposed changes to the talent system.  To me, this is one of the most needed and noticeable changes that was brought up in the panel that morning.  For those leveling new characters, you will still choose which spec you want to focus on once you reach level 10.  You will still receive a few talents or abilities at that level, which will fit into the grand scheme of things, with regards to what your chosen spec is meant to do or how it should perform.  After that point, you will choose your talents from one talent tree.  There will no longer be a clear cut holy, discipline, and shadow tree.  Each tier of the new talent tree will give you a couple of choices and you will only be allowed to choose one, per tier.  These talents also do not come with any ranks.

With the release of Mists of Pandaria, you will receive one talent point to use at levels 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90 (which is what the level cap will be increased to).  Let’s take a look at some images of the proposed talent choices for priests and my thoughts, criticisms, and predictions for each tier.

 

Level 15

As I mentioned earlier in this post, there are no clear cut talent trees anymore.  You will find that each tier of talents will include things that used to belong solely to one tree that now a priest of any spec can possibly enjoy.  You will see talents that were in one tree merged with talents from another tree to create a whole new talent that you could choose to put a talent point into.  I was pleasantly surprised by this and I feel like this new system goes a long way towards creating a versatile healing priest, which is something that many priests struggle with (myself included).  We will have to incorporate aspects of all of our trees to make ourselves the best healers we can be.  I am certainly up for the challenge and I hope that other priests are, too.

This first tier seems to focus on a priest using various forms of crowd control.  I don’t foresee us being asked to crowd control much in raids or dungeons, but I do see some of these abilities being used in an emergency, like if you suddenly end up with aggro.  Or they could be extremely useful in PVP situations.  I see these three talents as being more personal preference talents and not being something that will drastically affect your game play, otherwise.

Void Tendrils are very similar to an AOE root that druids are also going to be receiving.  Like the druid version, damage dealt to the roots or tendrils can terminate the effect.  This reminds me of the enhanced Earthbind Totem, which shamans can use to create a similar rooting effect.  It works really well and I’m glad to see other classes getting a chance to use something like it and hopefully with the same effect.

Psyfiend seems similar to a shadowfiend, except this minion will stay in one place and constantly use Psychic Scream on a single target.  It doesn’t sound like you will be able to choose the target or assign it to fear a specific enemy.  The tooltip itself is very vague, stating that it will only prefer to go after targets attacking you or your allies.  I wonder if the psyfiend is something that an enemy can target, like the Void Tendrils, and if doing so would cancel the effect early.  I’m also curious if the psyfiend will fear the same target repeatedly or if it will swap targets, if more than one enemy is attacking you or your allies.

Psychic Scream is something we already have in our arsenal and actually saw some use early on in Cataclysm.  I remember using it in 5 man Heroic dungeons, due to how difficult they were when the expansion first came out.  I also remember glyphing for it for Cho’gall, to help out with breaking the Worship effect on those that were affected in the raid.  If I had to choose one of the control type talents in this tier, I would probably choose this one.  It doesn’t come with any fancy gimmicks.  It does what it has always done, what you will most likely need it to do, and that is what really matters to me.

 

Level 30

This next tier of talents seem to revolve around abilities that increase your movement speed or the speed of others and allows you to remove movement impairing effects on yourself.

First up is an old favorite, Body and Soul.  From being holy for so long, I am a huge advocate of this talent and I am pleased to see that now every priest can potentially enjoy what it can do.  So far, it looks like Body and Soul will remain exactly as it is now, with the movement speed increase still coming from both Power Word: Shield and Leap of Faith and with the actual increase remaining the same.  That is good news on both fronts.

Path of the Devout is something new and increases your movement speed by 25% while using Levitate.  I see this being more of a fun talent, since you can’t give this effect to someone else and since it’s very rare that you will manage to keep Levitate on through the entire duration of a fight.  Levitate is usually something silly that you cast on yourself or others in between pulls and not necessarily something that gives you a real advantage in groups or raids.

Phantasm hasn’t changed much from its current showing in the shadow tree.  By using Fade, you can shed all movement impairing effects on yourself and then be immune to additional effects for 3 seconds afterwards.  The only problem I have with this one is that, like Path of the Devout, you can only use this on yourself.  Don’t get me wrong – it’s great for getting yourself out of a bind.  It doesn’t do anything for other people, like a tank, who I feel may be more prone to suffering from movement impairing effects and who would be at more of a disadvantage, if they had those types of debuffs on them.  I think Phantasm would be great for PVP, but I would choose Body and Soul over this or Path of the Devout, if I had to choose something for my everyday PVE activities.

 

Level 45

This tier consists of an old favorite, with a new name, an old favorite that hasn’t changed much, and a completely new spell that could be added to your repertoire.

From Darkness, Comes Light is basically just Surge of Light.  It functions exactly the same as it does right now, with certain single target heals having a chance to proc a free, instant cast Flash Heal.  Surge of Light was a very polarizing talent in Cataclysm that neither healing spec seemed to have much interest in.  Holy priests typically aren’t asked to tank heal too often, so they weren’t using the spells included in Surge of Light enough to enjoy the free heals, while discipline priests only had so many talent points they could invest into the holy tree and viewed other talents as being more important.  I don’t see this talent becoming any more important or desirable than it is now.

Divine Star is something new and will allow you to fire a star out in front of you, which will travel 20 yards and do damage to enemies and healing to allies that are in its way.  Then, the star will fly back to you, and do damage or healing to enemies or allies that are  again in its way.  I have two concerns about Divine Star.  First, I wonder how line of sight will affect this.  Let’s say you throw the star out and then are forced to get behind something that would normally prevent a spell from being cast because you are not in sight of your target.  Will this prevent the star from coming back to you?

Second, I worry about heals that require your allies to be in the right place at the right time.  I know shamans kind of had this problem with Chain Heal only reaching so far and every healing class has had issues with their zone heals, like Efflorescence or Holy Word: Sanctuary, at some point.  The neat thing about Divine Star is you can sort of steer where the star goes and who it will heal on its way out and then back to you.  You can toss it out in one direction and then move, to be in line of some other people who may need healing.  I am curious to see how wide the Divine Star effect will reach.  I know it goes 20 yards in front of you, but will it heal people in a straight, narrow line?  Will it have a nice amount of width, in order to heal people who may be standing next to someone else?

Archangel appears to have made the cut, but I feel like I can’t really talk about the future of this talent without discussing Evangelism, because the two do go hand in hand.  Right now, you can only gain stacks of Evangelism from using Smite, Holy Fire, or Mind Flay.  You can gain up to five stacks and then consume them all with Archangel.  The effects of Archangel are increased, the more stacks you have of Evangelism.  With a full 5 stacks, you will receive 5% of your total mana back, and a 15% increased healing buff, for 18 seconds.  This comes with a 30 second cooldown.

The new Archangel would give you a 25% increased healing buff, with a full 5 stacks of Evangelism and no mana regen.  The 30 second cooldown will stay the same, but there is no mention of whether this effect will last for the usual 18 seconds or not.  I wonder if the prerequisites for gaining Evangelism will remain the way they are now.  Will you only be able to get Evangelism from doing damage or will you be able to get stacks from healing spells, too?  We don’t know yet.  At first glance, I don’t like that the mana regen portion of Archangel has been removed.  I do like the buff to throughput, but it seems like a hard bargain, especially at the start of a new expansion, when you don’t necessarily outgear something enough to be frivolous with your mana.

Based on what I know so far, I would probably go into Mists of Pandaria with From Darkness, Comes Light, if only for the initial Heroic farming to gear up for raids and then I would probably take Divine Star over Archangel.  Mind you, this is just because I feel like I know more about Divine Star (as much as I can, at this point) right now and I don’t feel like Divine Star is missing something, without another talent to support it.  Once I know more about Evangelism, I may change my mind.

 

Level 60

Your choices for talents at level 60 revolve around keeping yourself alive.  I was really happy to see that just about every class will have the opportunity to put a talent point into something that will help keep them alive.  I think it is a really great idea to put more focus on the player, regardless of their class or role, and to have them do their part to stay alive longer.  I would much rather see cooldowns like this spread out across the board, rather than just seeing them all go towards healers, who usually end up being solely responsible for getting their group members out of tight spots during an encounter.

Desperate Prayer does not appear to have changed at all, which is good.  It is already quite lovely and doesn’t need to be fixed or altered in any way.  I am glad to see the developers appear to be leaving it alone, for now.

Angelic Bulwark is a new talent, which I hope will tie into other things that increase the strength of your shields (like Shield Discipline).

Final Prayer looks like it has some potential.  If you are attacked and fall below 30% health, you will generate a shield around yourself that will absorb 20% of your total health, which will last for 20 seconds.  I think this is a neat way to give yourself some time to heal yourself back up to full, if you suddenly lose a lot of health and need time to recover.  I hope that the shield generated is for 20% of your total health, when fully healed, and not 20% of your total health that you have remaining.  I am pretty sure it would work like that, but you never know.

 

Level 75

Twist of Fate contains bits and pieces of Test of Faith, from the holy tree, and Mind Melt, from the shadow tree.  I can see a talent like this being useful, especially in earlier tiers of content, where you don’t outgear everything just yet and where people aren’t necessarily guaranteed to be topped off all the time (in keeping with the triage style of healing that was briefly practiced after Cataclysm’s release).  However, once that happens, or depending on how well the healers you run with react to incoming damage, a talent like Test of Faith starts to decline in usefulness, as people spend less time being at 25% or lower health to get the benefit from this talent.  I would take this talent, but only in the beginning of a new expansion and only if I were doing more than just tank healing.

Power Infusion will now be available to all priests.  It appears that it will remain the same as it is right now.

Serendipity is primarily a holy talent that can now be picked up by discipline priests.  Like Surge of Light, this was another hotly debated talent that priests could never seem to agree on.  I wrote a post about Serendipity a while back and highlighted some ways to get the most out of it.  It is a moderately useful talent, but I don’t feel it holds up well against Power Infusion or even Test of Faith.  I’m tempted to say that I would choose Test of Faith first and then Power Infusion, only because I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to use Power Infusion (since I was primarily holy, until recently) and so I have sort of learned to get by without it.  Ultimately, though, I think Power Infusion would win out, if I had to choose between any of these three talents in this tier.

 

Level 90

They certainly are saving the best for last.  In my opinion, these three possibilities are each nothing short of game changing.  You could hear the sounds of awe throughout the discussion hall, as Ghostcrawler was going over these new talents and what each of them can do.  Let’s dig into them ourselves, shall we?

Vow of Unity basically takes the effects of Binding Heal and applies it to any heals that you cast on a friendly target.  I don’t see any sign of a duration on the tooltip, so I wonder if this is only temporary, or if this will work sort of like Beacon of Light does for paladins.  I think knowing how long this effect will last will determine how much I might want to invest a talent point into it.  It also depends on you taking damage, as well.  If you’re not in any real trouble, then you could just get away with using Binding Heal and not having to resort to blowing a cooldown on this to heal yourself and the tank (or any other individual needing your attention).

Void Shift is a very interesting new ability that we are potentially being given.  It’s important to note that you are not swapping health points with a target, you are swapping percentages of health with them.

Let’s say your tank has 250,000 health and you have 150,000 health.  He falls down to 10% of his health, while you are at 75% of yours.  You cast Void Shift, he goes back up to 75% health, which is 187,500 (up from the 25,000 he was reduced to).  On the other hand, you will go from the 112,500 that you were at down to 15,000 and will then receive a heal for 25% of your total health.  Hopefully, this is total health that you would have had, if you were fully healed and not 25% of the health points that you are currently sitting at.  Even if Void Shift heals for 25% of your total health, fully healed, that still may not be very much.

Going back to the previous scenario, if you fall down to 15,000 health and then receive the 25% heal, you are only getting back 37,500 health, which would leave you at 52,500 hit points.  You could very well heal yourself back up from that, especially with a little help from Final Prayer, but you may also die before you get a chance to do that.  One would argue that it is better that you die, instead of the tank.  You could also use Spirit of Redemption, if you do end up dying early and that way you are still able to put out some healing before you die permanently.  Void Shift has the potential to tie in nicely with many other talents, both new and old.

Based on the tooltip, it sounds like the effects of Void Shift are permanent.  It is not like you would swap health percentages and then the effect wears off and you go back to where you were at.  I also like the sound of this, because if you were to die shortly after doing this, it doesn’t seem like it would cause the effect to wear off on the tank and put them back in dire straits.  You could still use your cooldown and know that your death wouldn’t change anything.  That gives me an enormous feeling of peace of mind.

Vampiric Dominance reminds me of a talent called Surging Flames, from the Purifier soul in Rift.  I remember thinking how great it would be for a talent like this to make its way into World of Warcraft, specifically for discipline priests.  This talent is basically a re-vamped version of Vampiric Embrace (no pun intended) and now includes healing spells, in addition to damaging spells.  This talent could be quite powerful, for both tank and raid healing, and would be a good fit for both discipline and holy priests.  Depending on whether or not Echo of Light stays in the picture, (word is that it might be getting scrapped in the next expansion) it would be nice to see a HoT placed on each target that received some of the splash healing from Vampiric Dominance.

As of right now, I’m leaning towards Void Shift being the talent of choice here, followed by Vampiric Dominance, and then Vow of Unity.  Void Shift seems extremely powerful and I get a feeling that it is going to see a lot of testing before the expansion hits and that it may not end up working the way that we are seeing it in these previews.  Vampiric Dominance has the potential to really shine here, too.  I think what you choose in this tier will really depend on your particular healing assignment for each encounter.

The developers did say that they wanted players to be able to change specs with the ease that they would be able to change glyphs, so it may not be that unusual to see people having a different spec for each fight in a raid instance.  I remember Lissanna saying something over the weekend about us bloggers potentially having to do individual suggested specs for each boss and not looking forward to that.  I have to say that I kind of like that idea.  I think something like that opens up more room for discussion and goes a long way towards making our talent choices seem less static or set in stone, which was also the goal of the developers.  They wanted “cookie cutter” specs to become less common and this could very well accomplish that.

Overall, I’m quite happy with what I have seen, so far.  I realize that anything that has been revealed could change at any moment, but I am feeling quite positive with the direction that healing priests are going in and hopefully will continue to go in Mists of Pandaria.  I look forward to seeing the lines blur between a discipline priest and a holy priest and seeing each sort of enjoy some of the benefits that the other provides (i.e. holy priests getting more cooldowns, discipline priests getting more raw throughput that isn’t just from absorption effects).  I will be taking part in the beta, so I hope to provide some input on these changes and to do my part to making priests the best that they can be in the next expansion.

Feel free to leave a comment about what talents stood out to you or which talents failed to impress you.  Are there any talents you would like to see make the cut or get removed, in favor of something else?  Let’s talk about it!