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Examining the tier 15 priest set bonuses

Spiritual Guidance Examining the tier 15 priest set bonuses
WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore is a discipline priest by reputation, but still enjoys melting faces as shadow and bugging her raid to click the Lightwell as holy.

Last week, priests (and other less amazing classes) got a first look at the tier 15 set bonuses in the works for patch 5.2. The reactions so far have been mixed. Most discipline and holy priests seem to have had their interests piqued, while many shadow priests were seen grumbling discontentedly during the first few days. Have a look for yourself.
  • Healer two-piece Your Prayer of Mending heals for 10% more each time it jumps to a new target.
  • Healer four-piece Your Penance and Circle of Healing have a 40% chance to summon a Golden Apparition, which moves to a nearby ally and heals for an additional 92500 to 107500.
  • Shadow two-piece When your Shadowy Apparitions damage their target, they have a 65% chance to extend the duration of your Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch, causing each to deal damage one additional time.
  • Shadow four-piece Periodic damage from your Vampiric Touch has a 10% chance to trigger your Shadowy Apparition.
Blizzard has been fairly responsive to many complaints and inquiries made about these bonuses. For example, when shadow priests pointed out that Shadowy Apparitions were slow, buggy, and only a small portion of shadow DPS, Blizzard responded by letting us know that the cap was going to be raised for priests with the two-piece bonus, if not removed entirely. The developers also mentioned that work had been done to improve the AI on Shadowy Apparitions and get rid of bugs. Sound good?

Update: This article has been updated for build 16467, with changes notated in bold.

The shadow priest community seems to think so. If you follow the discussion over at HowToPriest.com, which started prior to Blizzard saying they were fixing Shadowy Apparitions, you can see the opinion of the new tier gradually improves as Blizzard answers more questions about the bonus.

Priest theorycrafter Twintop (a moderator at HowToPriest.com and blogger at Shadow Orbs and Mind Spikes) speculates that our new stat priority with the two-piece bonus will be critical strike > mastery > haste after reaching the 8,085 haste breakpoint. Drye (another moderator and theroycrafter at HowToPriest.com) also agrees that there shouldn't be any long term advantage to doubling up the tier 14 and tier 15 two-piece bonuses as they are now, even if the tier 15 four-piece is lackluster. Higher ilvl gear is simply going to be much more advantageous.

My advice? Listen to those guys.

More information on the tier 15 healing bonuses

What about the healing bonuses? Well, Blizzard has said a lot of things about those in the past week as well, and now that the mechanics have been explained they are looking very sexy. In the beginning I know some priests were concerned that the Golden Apparition from the four-piece bonus would be just as ineffective as the Shadow Apparitions on live, but have no fear.

The developers explained that Golden Apparition will function as a smart heal that would target the ally with the lowest health percentage within 40 yards. They mentioned that there is no visual yet, but that it's a "a simple missile, not a summoned unit." I haven't done any testing yet to know what the internal cooldown of the proc will be, but given similar procs in the past I think most healing priests should be happy with this. Disc priests in 25-mans might not like it as much, since they're less likely to cast Penance, but Blizzard is supposedly working on that (see the section below on disc nerfs).

I trust everyone is still using Prayer of Mending on cooldown, which makes the two-piece pretty universally solid for every healing priest. There does appear to be some potential for a holy priest to get more out of it if he specs into Divine Insight, though there's a higher chance that you'll overheal with a Divine Insight Prayer of Mending than you would with a normal one.

If you're curious, Blizzard was kind enough to explain the mechanics of the two-piece bonus, stating that the bonus is multiplicative and will scale upward like this: 100% for the first charge, 110% for the second, then 121%, 133%, and 146%. Oh, and before you get your hopes up, Blizzard already stated that the Glyph of Prayer of Mending will only affect the first charge of Prayer of Mending and not chain along (I know you were all thinking that as soon as you saw it).

So, what do you think healers? Are you happy?

Shadow Word: Insanity redesign and discipline nerfs

In the days following the preview of the tier 15 set bonuses, shadow priests pointed out the interaction between Shadow Word: Insanity and the tier 15 two-piece bonus. The developers responded, saying they were working to correct this before sweeping us off our feet a day later with the following statement.

Ghostcrawler -- PTR Class and Set Bonus Issues
We are going to redesign Shadow Word: Insanity.


And there was much rejoicing ... Unless you were a disc priest, that is. At the same time shadow priests received the good news, disc priests were told they'd be receiving another round of nerfs on the PTR.

Ghostcrawler -- PTR Class and Set Bonus Issues
We are going to nerf Divine Aegis for Prayer of Healing, but also lower the cost of Power Word: Shield (for Disc only) and increase the healing and damage of Penance. In 25 raids, Disc is using Prayer of Healing almost exclusively and we don't think the Spirit Shell change will be sufficient to change that. We actually want Disc to get back to using PW:Shield a little more, along with Penance. Disc's throughput is overall too strong in PvE, not even counting the fact that absorbs are often more beneficial than heals.


Granted, many of us were still expecting this, even after the Spirit Shell nerf was announced. You'd have to have your head in the sand to think Prayer of Healing, Divine Aegis, and Spirit Shell weren't overpowered on live servers right now.

And I think the developers are probably onto something when they say they want to see disc using Power Word: Shield and Penance more. I still use Penance myself, since it's so mana efficient, but my Power Word: Shield usage is definitely at an all time low. I toss it on the tanks for Rapture procs, but rarely do I use it on the raid anymore -- just for the occasional save. How often are you using Power Word: Shield right now, and are you a 10-man or 25-man raider?

Updated: The redesign for Shadow Word: Insanity was data mined a few hours ago. The new talent will be called Solace and Insanity, and the text for shadow priests is as follows.
  • When cast on a target that has three of your Shadow damage-over-time spells applied, your Mind Flay gains the insanity effect. Mind Flay (Insanity) Assault the target's mind with shadow energy, causing 5,934 to 6,657 shadow damage over 3 seconds and slowing their movement speed by 50%.
The change looks very promising, though there's a lot of testing that needs to be done to see how it interacts with our rotation. To keep up to date on the discussion, check out the thread at HowToPriest.com.

Discipline has also received heavy changes in build 16467. Prayer of Healing has been nerfed so that it will no longer always proc Divine Aegis. It will now behave as it did prior to patch 4.0.6, only yielding Divine Aegis on a critical heal.

Rapture has also been changed. The discipline passive will now also reduce the cost of Power Word: Shield by 25%. The mana returned on absorb has also been reduced to 150%, down from the 250% it was at in a previous build. (Please note these numbers are taken from Blizzard's updated patch notes, and appear to have been tweaked since they were originally data mined.)

Please see the comments on this article for further discussion.

The rest of the news

The rest of the priest news from patch 5.2 PTR isn't too exciting at the moment, mostly because a lot of it is discussion that Blizzard hasn't decided to implement yet. If something about these changes catches my attention later I'll mention it, but for now they're all pretty self-explanatory. (They're also very PvP-esque, if you didn't notice.)
  • Enemy players will no longer be able to dispel Angelic Bulwark or Spirit Shell.
  • To balance healer DPS in PvP, discipline priests may have their damage increased, and then receive a small nerf to Atonement to make up for the the increase in healing the damage buff would cause. There would be no resulting change in the amount of healing done by Atonement, just an increase in disc damage.
  • The season 12 four-piece bonus for healing priests is being changed. It will now reduce the cooldown of Chakra by 25 seconds and reduce the cost of Flash Heal by 50% during Spirit Shell.
  • The developers stated that they'd like to give disc another AoE heal in the future, but that it's not something they're likely to add in the middle of an expansion. Aww ...
Updated news from build 16467
  • Developers are considering making the Glyph of Desperation and the Glyph of Inner Focus specialization passives for discipline priests. Pain Suppression and Guardian Spirit can now always be cast while stunned. Glyph of Desperation has been removed and replaced with Glyph of Binding Heal. Glyph of Binding Heal applies Binding Heal to a third nearby friendly target, but costs 35% more mana. (See next bullet point for update on Glyph of Inner Focus.)
  • Casting Inner Focus now always grants 5 seconds of immunity to silences, interrupts, and dispels. Glyph of Inner Focus has been removed and replaced with Glyph of Weakened Soul. Glyph of Weakened Soul reduces the duration of Weakened Soul by 2 seconds.
  • Developers are also thinking about giving Focused Will to holy priests, as well as disc priests. Blizzard went ahead and gave Focused Will to holy priests in the latest 5.2 build for PTR.
  • Flash Heal's healing has been reduced by 30%. A new passive (available at level 10) increases Flash Heal's healing by 43% for holy and discipline priests.
  • Devouring Plague now deals its damage evenly through its duration.
  • Penance damage and healing has been increased by 20%.
  • The old season 12 four-piece bonus for healing priests (the one with Holy Spark) is now the two-piece bonus.

Spiritual Guidance is WoW Insider's source for priest information. For information on playing the class, check out our Mists of Pandaria guides for discipline, holy, and shadow. For getting geared up, check out our pre-raid gear guide.

Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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