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Spiritual Guidance: Back to the beta

In 2015, while testing out the latest Keepers of Time expansion, Blizzard Executive Fox Van Allen accidentally ganks his past self, undoing his own existence by causing himself to reroll paladin. Now, stuck in the year 2008, Fox must find a way to undo his mistake or risk losing everything. To do this, he tracks down the only person he knows: Dawn Moore. Unfortunately, she's never heard of him, WoW.com or Spiritual Guidance, and would much rather PvP than heal.

I've come to think of the Cataclysm beta as a disease. Each week it spreads further among the general populace while simultaneously mutating into a newer, stronger version of its former self. As the resident healer, it's my duty to try to control and contain the situation by applying my latest analysis, but overall the beta is a very resistant infection and my normal approaches are continually being overtaken. Still, I stand vigilant and celebrate my small victories; I will not leave you ill-informed, my fellow priests!

The sound of crickets fill the silence.

Yes, well then ... Shall we get started?

Priests have been getting a lot of attention in the beta lately. For a while, everything seemed to come to a standstill, but in the past two or three weeks, the changes have been coming in so quickly it's been hard to keep up. I'm unsure how long this constant development will last for priests, so I want to keep you all up to date lest it stops or snowballs into something monstrous.

I know most of you aren't in the beta and might be sick of hearing about it. Hell, I'm in the same boat as you; but try to look at it from the perspective that this could all become our future in another two or three months. Seeing as it might be something you might eventually complain about, now is the time to take an active interest in the development of your class. If there is something that sounds great (or terrible), you should head over to the Cataclysm forums and constructively express your feedback on things. It's like writing your congressmen, only you're 500 times more likely to be listened to.

That all said, the main focus today will be holy. Discipline's tree has held together pretty well since I did my last big write-up on it, but holy looks more like it's eloped with a paladin, changed its name and had three kids since I last saw it. If it wasn't for Blessed Resilience still clinging on for dear life at the bottom of the tree, I might not recognize it. (I would have thought it would have been axed by now. Phooey!)

Flash Back: Chastise

The namesake of today's article is Holy Word: Chastise, the latest ability announced in last night's new talent build.
Holy Word: Chastise - Chastise the target for 563.9 to 632.71 Holy damage, and Immobilizing them for 2 sec. 15% of base mana, 30 yd range, Instant cast, 45 sec cooldown
But wait a minute ... This isn't new at all! Here's the proof. Dawn pulls out a dusty old VHS tape and pops it into a VCR. Chastise was a baseline, Alliance-only priest ability that drifted through Azeroth for a while during The Burning Crusade. It didn't last for long and got taken out when all the new Wrath talents were released with Patch 3.0.2. Hardly anyone noticed its appearance or disappearance (especially if you were Horde.)

Well, now that it's back, level 10 holy priests can bask in its immobilizing goodness. Not to mention, holy priests can finally beam in the satisfaction of having a spell called "Holy Word: Whatever." Just FYI, the origin of the "Power Word:" naming scheme comes from old-school Dungeons and Dragons. The derivative of "Shadow Word:" is something Blizzard did on its own for shadow priests, but this is probably the reason we never had things called "Holy Word: Hopscotch" from the start (unless you count this). So it's not like Blizzard was hating on holy all this time, it was just appropriating as it usually does.

Getting back on topic, Holy Word: Chastise might not seem too exciting outside of PvP and soloing, but that's because you have to look at it in alignment with Chakra. Chakra, you ask?

All things Chakra

Holy Word: Chastise was introduced in yesterday's build with a new talent called Revelations, which branches off from the tier 5 talent Chakra. Take look.
Revelations (1 rank) - While in a Chakra state, your Holy Word: Chastise ability will transform into a different ability depending on which state you are in.
•Holy Word: Serenity (Heal) - Instantly heals the target for 3161.85 to 3730.47, and increases the critical effect chance of your healing spells on the target by 25% for until cancelled. 45 sec cooldown.
•Holy Word: Aspire (Renew) - Instantly heals the target for 2363.56 and another 4471.99 over until cancelled. 15 sec cooldown.
•Holy Word: Sanctuary (Prayer of Healing) - Blesses the ground with Divine light, healing all within it for 298.75 to 355.32 every 2 for 15 sec. Only one Sanctuary can be active at any one time.
So that's where the new ability Sanctuary turned up. Overall, I think it's safe to say that every disc priest this side of the galaxy is jealous of holy right now. This new development is awesome, to put my articulations on hold for a moment. Holy is basically getting three new spells in addition to Holy Word: Chastise, and they all sound amazing.
  • Holy Word: Serenity This looks like the first real believable answer to holy priest tank and single-target healing I've seen. Right now it appears bugged on the beta, with no cooldown occurring after you use it. So, who knows whether the cooldown will be attached to the heal, the assigning of a target, or both. Either way, whatever happens with the cooldown the healing buff is still insane. 25 percent! That's like all the crit most of us have on our gear already, so assuming crit isn't downscaled in Cataclysm the way haste is going to be, you're looking at something like 60-70 percent chance to crit on your Holy Word: Serenity target. Excuse me while I faint.
  • Holy Word: Aspire The duration of this HoT is as long as it's cooldown, so it works a lot like how Devouring Plague used to work. However, with haste and HoTs in Cataclysm, it is possible to have the Holy Word: Aspire HoT on two targets at once, but mostly this is going to be an additional HoT to put on one specific target. Tank love, anyone?
  • Holy Word: Sanctuary I talked a lot about Sanctuary when it was announced, but the tooltip language has changed a lot in comparison to what was being discussed last week. Don't get too excited about the line "only one Sanctuary" yet, though. I don't think it means we're going to be getting multiple Sanctuaries, rather we shouldn't be able to place multiple Sanctuaries down at a time. Of course, on beta right now you can place multiple Sanctuaries, so no clue what Blizzard's ultimate plan is.
Before we move on, I wanted to quickly point out the talent State of Mind, which I have not discussed previously. State of Mind is another derivative talent that works off Chakra and acts similarly to the way Mind Flay does for Shadow Word: Pain. You can "refresh" your Chakra, but not the entire duration. Instead, each time you cast the corresponding Chakra stance spell (Renew, Heal, etc.) you add seconds to the duration of your Chakra. For 2 talents in State of Mind, each "refresh" adds 4 seconds to your Chakra duration. There is a cap on how long you can extend it: 30 seconds. As you recall though, activating Chakra has a minute cooldown, so this means with State of Mind you can carry out your Chakra buff until you decide you need to change your Chakra stance. So basically, no Chakra downtime if you're diligent.

Lightwell and Spirit of Redemption

A beta build or two back, holy priests suddenly found themselves with the option to skip out on the talent Spirit of Redemption. Some priests started to consider what the point of the talent would be in its new form, which lacked the static 5 percent buff to spirit it once had.

Yesterday, Lightwell found itself in the same trash heap boat as Spirit of Redemption. While I'm sure most non-believer priests will be happy about the removal of mandatory Lightwell, I will shed some tears for what could have been a beautiful future together. I'm not sure what made Blizzard decide to budge on the issue, after sticking with it for some months now, but I have a feeling that this decision will make these two talents suffer the fate Lightwell has always suffered, especially when Body and Soul is a contender for those extra talent points.

For now, the masses have won their victory over Lightwell. I'm going to go cry in a corner, watch art house films and be otherwise pretentious.

Everything else

Finally, what beta build write-up would be complete without a bullet-point list of loose ends that didn't fit under another header?
  • Twirling Light (2 ranks) - When you deal damage with Smite, Holy Fire, or Holy Word: Chastise your next Flash Heal is instant at 75% reduced mana cost, but heals for 30/60% of the amount. Lasts for 10 sec. A new talent in tier 6 of the holy tree, it seems to have eaten Surge of Light, or at least digivolved from it. This seems like a nice choice for PvP or for switching out of your damage-for-mana regen mode.
  • Heavenly Voice, formerly the talent known as Choir Leader, is gone. This comes shortly after it was reintroduced after being taken away once before. Since the switch to a 31-point talent system, I've thought the whole thing was lackluster, so no big loss in my book.
  • Binding Prayers is gone, which is quite unfortunate in my book. This talent was going to give some serious loving to Desperate Prayer by healing you and the lowest health member of your raid at the same time. Blizzard even made a comment about it (pointing out no one noticed that it worked with Desperate Prayer when Desperate Prayer was still the level 10 holy ability.)
  • Serendipity (which by the way, is Serendipity again, if you missed it) now has a mana cost reduction component in addition to the cast time reduction. Rockin'.
  • Surge of Light is gone, though as I said above, it's kind of been worked into the new talent Twirling Light.
  • For discipline priests: Renewed Hope got a slight buff. The increased chance to land a crit heal on targets with Power Word: Shield on them is now 5 and 10 percent, up from 3 and 6 percent.
  • Matticus and Derevka let me know Holy Nova is having an identity crisis (read: it's making the noise we associate with Heroism), but it's healing raid-wide now. Priests rejoice!

Want to find more great tips for carrying out your priestly duties? Spiritual Guidance has you covered with all there is to know. Check out Holy 101 or Disc 101 for an introduction to healing as a priest; for the party-minded healer, check out a priest's guide to tanks.

Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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