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Filed under: (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: From Power Word: Solace to Power Infusion, the latest on holy and discipline priests

Mists of Pandaria beta From Power Word Solace to Power Infusion, the latest on holy and discipline priests
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers healing for discipline and holy priests, while her archenemy Fox Van Allen dabbles in shadow.

Since its introduction, the new level 45 priest talent, Power Word: Solace, has undergone several changes. First, it had the percentage of mana it returned per cast reduced from 2% to 1.5%. A little over a week after that, the percentage was buffed back up to 2% while the cast time was simultaneously nerfed from 1.5 seconds to 2 seconds. Then just last week, the cast time was lowered back to 1.5 seconds, while the amount of mana returned was lowered to a mere .7% per cast. Pretty crazy for one little spell, right?

As you'd expect, a lot of discussion has come up over the changes, with one thread on the official forums leading it all. In it, the original poster asks for an explanation behind the nerfs, saying that even though he hated using Power Word: Solace with a fiery passion, the talent was necessary for healing priests. Ghostcrawler (Lead Systems Developer Greg Street) responded soon after, explaining that the developers don't want Power Word: Solace to feel like the only option healing priests have, and they will nerf it until priests consider Mindbender and From Darkness, Comes Light viable alternatives.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Thoughts on playing a discipline priest in Mists of Pandaria

Spiritual Guidance Thoughts on playing a disciple priest in the Mists of Pandaria beta
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers the healing side of things for discipline and holy priests. She also writes for LearnToRaid.com and produces the Circle of Healing Podcast.

I've decided that playing a healing priest is a lot like being a pregnant woman. No, really, let me explain! OK, so admittedly I don't know what it's like to be pregnant, but I've observed enough friends and family going through the process to have come up with this analogy. Here it goes ...

So you know how when a woman is pregnant, people will start inviting themselves into awkward and personal conversations with her, or they'll randomly put their hands all over her stomach as though it had been declared a national park? Well, that's what it's like to play a healing priest. Here's how it happens.

You'll be healing away in a raid or a 5-man, minding your own business, when someone will invite themselves into a one-sided conversation with you where they tell you what spec you should be playing and why. If you're disc, they'll tell you to go holy; if you're holy, well, you get the idea. In these conversations, your reasoning and expertise will always be deemed irrelevant because you're clearly in the wrong spec to begin with and because this random person has a really, really good reason for suggesting you change specs. (Never mind that it's almost always based on some broad generalization or the performance of the spec five tiers ago.)

Try to tell them no, and you'll get accusations of being selfish or stubborn. Don't you know that if you change specs, every single problem the group is having (including the fact that everyone is standing in fire) will cease to happen and the boss will immediately drop dead and explode in a shower of epics?

Anyway, the reason for telling you all that is because I want to start talking about how disc and holy have been playing in the Mists of Pandaria beta right now. I've had a lot of outstanding thoughts about both specs during the past month and a half, and it's time we discussed them. There's a lot to talk about, though, so I'm going to break it up over two parts. This week, we'll talk about discipline, then holy in two weeks. Holy priests shouldn't feel completely left out, though, as I also have some news items to go over for them.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Mindbender vs. Power Word: Solace

Spiritual Guidance Priest healing in the Mists of Pandaria beta
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers the healing side of things for discipline and holy priests. She also writes for LearnToRaid.com and produces the Circle of Healing Podcast.

It's just my luck that two days after I wrote my last installment of Spiritual Guidance, a brand new level 45 priest talent appeared on the Mists of Pandaria beta. The new talent, called Power Word: Solace, is a damage-for-mana ability that players can cast on enemy targets to receive 6,000 mana in return. It has a 1.5-second cast time, costs no mana to cast, doesn't have a cooldown, and always returns mana, even if the damage portion of the spell misses its target.

The arrival of a new talent like this always raises a lot of questions. How does Power Word: Solace stand up to the other level 45 talents, Mindbender and From Darkness, Comes Light? Is it better or worse than either of those two talents? As a healing priest, what talent will I want to choose?

Well, first off, it's important to remember that the new talent system is specifically designed to put an end to cookie-cutter talent specs. Talents will now be balanced with one another in such a way that no one talent is better than the others overall. One talent might end up being better than another in a specific scenario where the mechanics of the situation complement it or just clash with the other two options. In that sense, Blizzard is right on mark with Power Word: Solace. Let's compare it to Mindbender so you can see how.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Mists of Pandaria and the evolution of a shadow priest

Spiritual Guidance Mists of Pandaria and the evolution of a shadow priest
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. On alternate Wednesdays, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen comes from out of the shadows to bask in your loving adoration.

Ladies and gentleman, I have returned! I know the wait was absolutely excruciating, and though Dawn Moore was an apt replacement for a week, it's like getting a hit of methadone instead of your pure Fox Van Heroin.

This week, I hope you'll bear with me, because I'd like to tell you a bit of a story: the story of how one Fox Van Allen found a game called World of Warcraft and of how his approach to the game changed throughout the year. There's a message buried in there somewhere, I promise.

Anyway, think back to it -- your first day of WoW. Maybe you played a priest since the very beginning, but for me, it was a warrior. Priests, so far as I was concerned, were a healing class. And I wanted to break stuff.

So, there me were. Me Fox. Me smash! But me no happy. Warrior make Fox sad. No like fight boomchicken close up. Want ranged attack! Control chicken mind! Make fall off cliff! Boomkin sadness fun for Fox!

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria Beta: A look at the level 90 priest talents

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Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers the healing side of things for discipline and holy priests. She also writes for LearnToRaid.com and produces the Circle of Healing Podcast.

On my journey to level 90, the new priest talent Divine Star was what I found myself looking forward to the most. When the ability had first been announced at BlizzCon 2012, a few commenters suggested that the spell would probably behave just like Prismatic Barrier, an ability from League of Legends. Prismatic Barrier allows your character (specifically the character Lux) to throw her wand to a targeted location, shielding any allies standing in the wands path, then return to your character. When the wand returns, it returns to Lux's current location, as opposed to the location where she was standing when she first threw it, thus allowing you the potential to heal several different players in the two paths of the wand.

The prospect of being able to do this in WoW had a huge appeal to me because it required a certain degree of raid awareness that went beyond just staying out of the fire. Using it to its full potential would mean knowing where everyone in your raid was and positioning yourself in optimal locations to get the best of it. In League of Legends, these types of abilities are called skillshots because they require good aim and timing to be effective. I loved the idea of having that in WoW.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Shadow priest news bulletin (as narrated by a discipline priest)

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Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. On alternate Wednesdays, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen comes from out of the shadows to bask in your loving adoration.

I had just zoned into the instance when the rogue died.

I was running Temple of the Jade Serpent on the Mists of Pandaria beta as a promise to a friend who hadn't had the foresight to invite a tank or DPS. We were two healers and an enhancement shaman, organized enough to be on Vent but still ultimately at the mercy of the Dungeon Finder. My expectations were low.

All the same, six minutes later, we drew a warrior tank and a rogue. Now all we had to do was decide which healer was healing. The resto druid didn't want to DPS; rather, he "couldn't" because he only knew how to play feral and lacked a suitable weapon to actually do so. That meant by default I would have to go shadow, so I started readjusting my bars to do so.

When the druid finished resurrecting the rogue, we set right to work on our next trash pack. I found myself fumbling about, unsure why Vampiric Embrace was on cooldown and where Devouring Plague had gone. My friend, the enhancement shaman, took notice.

"When was the last time you played shadow?" he asked.

"Well, I have my rotation written on the back of an envelope I had on my desk," I replied.

Immediately he laughed, but from the way it awkwardly trailed off, I knew he was losing faith.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Lightwell vs. Lightspring, plus new priest glyph and talent animations

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers the healing side of things for discipline and holy priests. She also writes for LearnToRaid.com and produces the Circle of Healing Podcast.

The latest build on the Mists of Pandaria beta allowed players to purchase the newly implemented major and minor glyphs we spoke about two weeks ago. In the video above, you'll find animations for Glyph of Shadowy Friends, Glyph of Lightspring, Glyph of the Heavens, Glyph of Holy Resurrection, and Glyph of the Val'kyr. Is it just me, or does it look like Lightspring is casting mini Penance balls at its target? Perhaps there is a tiny disc priest trapped inside every Lightspring ... Hmm.

While we're on the topic of Lightspring, there has been an interesting development since the glyph was first announced. Originally, it looked like Lightspring would heal players for less than Lightwell, a sort of toll for the fact that Lightspring was automated. In the latest beta build, however, it now looks like the HoTs from both Lightwell and Lightspring will heal for the same amount over time.

I'm guessing the developers decided there wasn't much reason to reduce the amount of healing Lightspring does per tick since the 5 seconds of downtime between each heal is a limitation in itself. By only allowing the Lightspring to heal once every 5 seconds, the heal isn't any better than a single-target heal from another player, save for the fact that it will work while you're doing other things.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: The new shadow priest trend of backtracking

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Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. On alternate Wednesdays, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen comes from out of the shadows to bask in your loving adoration.

I spent a long time trying to come up with the perfect word for what's happening to shadow priests on the beta right now. At first I thought up déjà vu, but that didn't seem quite right (and shut up, I know that's a phrase, not a word). Then I got bored and played Civilization 5 for a while. Then I made a sandwich.

I don't know where I'm going with any of that, but I did eventually settle on a word: backtracking. That's what happening with shadow priests -- Blizzard is revising the class and hastily making a retreat on just about every unpopular decision it's made over the last few months in the beta. Two weeks ago, Blizz did it by backing down on its decision to axe Devouring Plague. This week, it's backtracking again, giving us back yet another thing it had axed going into MoP.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? In a sense, both. But we'll get into that shortly.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Lightwell, Lightspring, and the latest on priest healing in Mists

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Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers the healing side of things for discipline and holy priests. She also writes for LearnToRaid.com and produces the Circle of Healing Podcast.

Well, we got it. I never thought I'd see the day, but we finally got the Trial of the Crusader Lightwell that shoots heals at allied players instead of requiring them to click. Holy priests will gain access to the new Lightwell, called Lightspring, using a glyph of the same name. Before you get too excited, however, I should mention that there is a catch. Apparently, automatic Lightwells don't heal for nearly as much as a manual ones do, so depending on the fight and your raid members' ability to use the Lightwell in the first place, you may choose to skip the Glyph of Lightspring now and again.

Good ol' Derevka has already written up a thorough first look at Lightspring in which he points out many of the spell's limitations. In the post, he points out that Lightspring only heals targets at less than 50% of their health, and it has a 5-second cooldown between heals to prevent it from being used as a raid cooldown. To read the rest of Derevka's write-up and see his comparisons on the numerical output of the two spells, head over to Tales of a Priest.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: The return of Devouring Plague, and our new shadowy friend

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Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. On alternate Wednesdays, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen comes from out of the shadows to bask in your loving adoration.

In case you haven't noticed, the shadowformed Spiritual Guidance is a once-every-other-week thing now. Normally, I'm cool with that. But man, these past two weeks have been killing me. Last week, there were changes. Big changes. Huge changes! And this week -- more huge changes! Groundbreaking changes! Stunning, jaw-dropping changes! Unbelievable ...

Okay, I digress. But there's no exaggeration here. The changes over the past two weeks have been huge. Old friends are making a comeback. New friends are on the way. Shadow priest PvP is changing forever. And shadow priest mastery has been completely overhauled -- twice.

We've got a lot of catching up to do, kids. I'll introduce you to our new friend in just a bit (not that Dawn Moore and Matt Low haven't already let the cat out of the bag), but first, an old friend has been waiting to say "hi." Ladies and gentlemen, make our oldest of friends feel welcome -- a round of applause, please, for Devouring Plague.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: Shadowfiends retire, more priest talent news from Mists beta

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Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers the healing side of things for discipline and holy priests. She also writes for LearnToRaid.com and produces the Circle of Healing Podcast.

Do you want to know the greatest and most amazing new thing priests are getting in Mists of Pandaria? It's a squid. Well, it could be an octopus, but I think it's a squid. It's called a Mindbender, and it's our new level 45 talent. The Mindbender is a flying, shadowy squid that serves as an improved version of (read: replacement for) our old pal, Shadowfiend. Our new squid friend does double the damage of Shadowfiend and thus returns twice as much mana. I can only assume the reason he can do this is because he latches onto the heads of our enemies and sucks out their brains, sort of like a Mind Flayer, the squid-faced monsters from Dungeons and Dragons with telekinetic powers. Mindbender, Mind Flayer ... That's right, Blizzard, I'm on to you.

Anyway, I imagine Squiddy will become the prime choice for healing priests in MoP because 1.) mana is mana, and 2.) the other level 45 talents are a bit lackluster. That will unfortunately mean leaving Shadowfiend at home, which is awfully sad, but I've painted up a scenario in my head where Shadowfiend tells me, "Look, Dawn, we've been raiding together for a few years now, and it's about time that I caught up on all the prime time television I've missed. There's Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and I've still only seen one episode of Game of Thrones. I need a break."

"OK, Shadowfiend," I say to it, "you can stay home this expansion."

"Thanks, dollface," it responds with Don Draper-esque charm and winks an eye at me I never knew it had.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: My least favorite ability in the game and the MoP beta

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Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. On alternate Wednesdays, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen comes from out of the shadows to bask in your loving adoration.

The big news of the week is, of course, the launch of patch 4.3.4. But for us shadow priests, there's nothing interesting under its hood. Our rotation doesn't change; our stat weights don't change. It's just business as usual.

But what's going on over at the Mists of Pandaria beta -- well, there's plenty of shadow priest news coming from there. New buffs are in the mix. There are new talents as well, and one buff that was long missing from the beta has finally returned.

With the good comes the bad, though. One new talent that shadow priests are likely going to be pressured to take closely mirrors my least favorite ability currently in the game. Well ... really, "least favorite ability" doesn't go far enough -- let's call it my most despised ability. Can you guess what it is?

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: New priest talents in the Mists of Pandaria beta

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Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers the healing side of things for discipline and holy priests. She also writes for LearnToRaid.com and produces the Circle of Healing Podcast.

Let's get the bad news out of the way first: We've already lost Path of the Devout on beta. The good news is that in its place, we now have Feathers From Heaven, a talent that allows priests to lay out a little track of speed-boosting feathers. Think of them as those little speed arrows in Mario Kart, only they're feathers, and you can put them wherever you please.

The individual feathers have no expiration that I can tell, so you can lay them out in advance on one end of the room for special tactics in your raid encounters or PvP, if it suits your fancy. The ability has no mana cost at the moment. Instead, it is limited by charges: one feather per charge, and you can have three charges at a time. You can place one feather right after the other, but it takes 10 seconds to restore one charge. This allows you to spam three of them on the ground in succession if you like (something you can't do with Body and Soul) or spread them out gradually ahead of you in your path. They can be used by any friendly target, not just party members, so be mindful of people's stealing them if you're using them while leveling to snatch up quest items. Oh yeah, and the feathers can be used on top of water with Levitate.

So, you're excited about Mists of Pandaria now, right?

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Spiritual Guidance: First hands-on look at the Mists of Pandaria shadow priest

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. On alternate Wednesdays, shadow priesting expert Fox Van Allen comes from out of the shadows to bask in your loving adoration.

Beta access, sweet, delicious beta access. After weeks of waiting, I'm finally in the Mists of Pandaria beta. And man, does it taste sweet. Sure, in reality, I'd only been waiting a few weeks to get in. But when you're not in the beta and it seems like everyone else is, those weeks can feel like an eternity.

But you likely don't care about my emotions (you cruel, sadistic readers, you). You care about shadow priests and the changes made to them in the beta. And believe me, there are a lot of changes to shadow priests coming for MoP.

Yeah, I know, we've discussed a lot of those changes here in Spiritual Guidance. But already, there are changes to those changes. And frankly, the latest batch of changes is shocking. Every single spell that we hold dear is seeing a major change to it. Shadow Word: Pain, Vampiric Touch, Vampiric Embrace, and even Shadowy Apparitions -- it seems no spell is safe.

Are these changes the end of the world? Maybe they are. But you should know by now that I'm not going to tell you anything definite about that until you follow me after the break.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance, Mists of Pandaria

Spiritual Guidance: First impressions of the Mists of Pandaria beta from a healing priest

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers the healing side of things for discipline and holy priests. She also writes for LearnToRaid.com and produces the Circle of Healing Podcast.

This past week, I finally got access to the Mists of Pandaria beta, which means I've had lots of shiny new stuff to play with recently. As a healing priest, I gave a thorough look at both holy and discipline priests and found a lot of things I felt I should report back.

First, let's start with Chakra. Before I even finished downloading the beta client, I heard complaints from other priests saying that Chakra states had turned into stances (think warrior stances). The concept of this intrigued me, but when I finally got around to toying around with it, I didn't really know why anyone would think too much of it. The stances simplify Chakra, so rather than having to press two buttons to change to Chakra: Sanctuary, all you have to do is hit one. If you want to switch again, there is a 30-second cooldown before you can swap.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

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