Priest changes in Cataclysm


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First thing I see is the dispel capability. There will be three dispel capabilities for each of the healing classes. For the priest they will be: defensive magic, offensive magic, and disease. But there is a trade off for shadow priests, they won’t be able to remove disease in Shadowform.

New Spells: Holy
Heal (available at level 16): While priests already have a spell called Heal, the existing version becomes obsolete at higher levels, which is something we intend to change in Cataclysm. Introduced at a low level, the "new" Heal spell will functionally work much like a down-ranked Greater Heal did in the past, adding more granularity to your direct-healing arsenal. If you need to heal someone a moderate amount and efficiency is an issue (making Flash Heal the incorrect spell for the job), then Heal is what you want to use. Heal is intended to be the priest's go-to direct-healing spell unless they need something bigger (Greater Heal) or faster (Flash Heal). We will be following a similar philosophy with all the healing classes.

Leap of Faith (level 85): Pull a party or raid member to your location. Leap of Faith (or "Life Grip") is intended to give priests a tool to help rescue fellow players who have pulled aggro, are being focused on in PvP, or just can't seem to get out of the fire in time. Instant. 30-yard range. 45-second cooldown.
I am glad to see Heal getting a face lift. The current spell is useless and I never use it. The mana cost for the amount healed is just not worth it.

As for Leap of Faith, why? I just don't really see it being used that often. I doubt that I will have it on my bar at all. Most of the time I am spending to much time healing to deal with someone that can not get out of an AoE. Unless this will also wipe aggro from someone, I won't use it.

New Spell: Discipline
Inner Will (level 83): Increases movement speed by 12% and reduces the mana cost of instant-cast spells by 10%. This buff will be exclusive with Inner Fire, meaning you can't have both up at once. Inner Fire provides a spell power and Armor buff; Inner Will should be useful on a more situational basis.
Ok, this might be worth it especially for DPS. The movement speed will be good for PvP and who can complain about a 10% reduction on insta-casts. But of course which do you want mana reduction on insta-cast or spell power bonus?

New Spell: Shadow
Mind Spike (level 81): Deals Shadowfrost damage and puts a debuff on the target that improves subsequent Mind Spike damage. The intent of Mind Spike is to fill a niche missing in Shadow DPS, though it may be occasionally useful for healers as well. Mind Spike provides a quick nuke to use in situations where the priest doesn't have time to set up the normal rotation, such as when adds are dying too fast or you have to swap targets a lot. Spamming Mind Spike will do about as much damage as casting Mind Flay on a target afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain. The idea behind the debuff is that when you cast Mind Spike, we expect you to cast a lot of them; we don't intend you to fit it into an already full Shadow rotation. It also provides Shadow with a spell to cast when locked out of the Shadow school. (School lockouts will no longer affect both schools for multi-school spells.) 1.5-second cast. 30-yard range. No cooldown.
This is something that I am glad to see, we definitely need this. The better the gear the group has = no dps for a shadow priest. It is almost useless to try to do any dps when the mobs die so quick.

All HoTs and DoTs will benefit from Haste and Crit innately. Hasted HoTs and DoTs will not have a shorter duration, just a shorter period in between ticks (meaning they will gain extra ticks to fill in the duration as appropriate).
I really like this. More haste = more damage/heals in the same amount of time.

Healing Bits
While we want to keep the priest's role as a well-rounded healer, we also want to make sure the class is a viable tank healer, which is something priests moved away from a little in Wrath of the Lich King. Greater Heal will probably be the tank-healing spell of choice, though we've also discussed giving Discipline a second shield so that they have a small shield to cast on lots of different targets, and a big, more expensive shield to cast on a tank or anyone else taking a ton of damage.

We want to make Holy a little bit more interesting to play. One new talent will push the Holy priest into an improved healing state when he or she casts Prayer of Healing, Heal, or Renew three times in a row. The empowered state varies depending on the heals cast.

We want to improve Holy for PvP healing. One way to do this is to make sure that Heal's throughput is similar between both specs.

Divine Spirit and Prayer of Spirit will be removed from the game. As Spirit will be the primary mana-regeneration stat, we don't want it to vary as much between solo, small group, and raid play. Blessing of Kings and Mark of the Wild will not boost Spirit either.
There is a reason why Greater Heals is not used often, it takes forever to cast.

Discipline Bits
Mana will be a bigger consideration for all healers. We aren't trying to make healing more painful; we're trying to make it more fun. When the cost of a spell isn't an issue, then casting the right spell for the job is less of an issue because you might as well just use your most powerful spell all of the time. We are, however, getting rid of the five-second rule, because we don't want to encourage standing around doing nothing. We're also going to cut back on the benefits of buffs such as Replenishment so priests (and all healers) don't feel as penalized when those buffs aren't available.

We want to improve Discipline's single-target healing capacity. One key is to make sure shielding isn't always a more attractive option than healing.

Discipline will finally be getting Power Word: Barrier as a talented ability. Think of it like a group Power Word: Shield.
I think they are out of line, at least in my case, about the casting the biggest heal no matter what the job because you can. I cast what I do because of the amount of time it takes to cast it, not how much healing it can do. Most of the time I do not have the luxury to cast a greater heal cause by the time I am done, the tank could be dead.

I have been wanting Power Word: Barrier since I have started healing. I believe this is probably one of the best improvements for us.

Shadow Bits
We want to improve Shadow for short fights and reduce its susceptibility to school lockouts.

Since the Shadow tree has a lot of passive damage-boosting abilities -- something we're trying to avoid in Cataclysm -- we will need to replace several of the tree's talents. One idea is to play off of the new Shadow Orbs mechanic (see Mastery section below), possibly allowing you to consume an orb to increase damage from Mind Blast or reduce Mind Spike's cast time.

Misery will no longer affect spell Hit chance. We want players to be able to gear themselves around a Hit cap that isn't variable depending on group composition.
Healing Bits

There is a reason why Greater Heals is not used often, it takes forever to cast.

Discipline Bits

I think they are out of line, at least in my case, about the casting the biggest heal no matter what the job because you can. I cast what I do because of the amount of time it takes to cast it, not how much healing it can do. Most of the time I do not have the luxury to cast a greater heal cause by the time I am done, the tank could be dead.

You have to take into account that they are greatly increasing health in the expansion too. They have acknowledged that one of the problems is how fast a tank can die. With larger health pools you will be able to let a tank take some damage and cast your largest heal without them dying on you mid cast.
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Check out my priest on Nazgrel Priesty link

This is not an epeen link, but check out the haste rating. With this amount of haste plus raid buffs, I cast my shield -> penance with borrowed time -> Greater heal with borrowed time. HUGE single target burst healing with ridiculously fast cast times. In this scenario my greater heal is a 1.3 second cast time. That is NOT slow.

For disc priests, greater heal fills the important role of providing single target throughput, which imo is a weakness of the spec. Mana efficiency? Who cares right now.

The Leap of Faith, aside from the obvious grieving potential, will be neat to forcibly get that dumb dps out of the fire. I can see it being really handy in raids when you might want to help move tanks around to deal with nasty mechanics and such.

And thank goodness they are making us care about mana efficiency and giving us the time to do so. Healing will be more interesting in cata. YAY!

Just my two cents.