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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

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

The Light and How to Swing It: The relationship between intellect and spirit

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered.

"Stack intellect." All you had to do was ask any question about holy paladins in Wrath, and you'd receive that infamous answer. Intellect was the solution to all of our problems, and it was through intellect that we conquered our corner of the healing game. Intellect allowed us to cast indefinitely without ever running our mana wells dry, and intellect allowed us to cast our most powerful heal without even a moment's pause. It was a matter of fact. Holy paladins would simply overheal in massive amounts, and nobody cared.

I suppose intellect was only half of the problem. Holy Light clearly scaled too well as our gear improved. It was meant to be expensive but powerful, a necessary evil for dire situations. Once the scare of running out of mana was debunked, there was no reason not to use the most potent tool in our arsenal. While the developers may still blame the imbalances in Icecrown Citadel on the extra tiers of gear they had to add to accommodate heroic raid encounters, when an errant DPS class' performance scaled out of control, they were quickly reined in. Holy paladins' power was left unchecked because we were merely healers. The hammer would drop on us in Cataclysm, anyway.

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It

Spiritual Guidance: Shadow as a secondary spec in 3.1

Every week, Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host today is Alex Ziebart who doesn't have as many cool links to plug up here as Matticus does but will try anyway. This week we get our Shadowform on..

Dual specs are coming, probably only a week away, and I suspect that many Holy and/or Discipline Priests out there will be picking up a Shadow build as their second spec. Priests, like most classes, can have many little build variations to fit your playstyle: Raiding, soloing, doing Battlegrounds, doing arenas, all of that. I'm going to look at a couple of good PvE specs to use in patch 3.1, but unfortunately avoiding the PvP specs for you arena junkies in our audience. Trust me, you don't want to take my advice there. Discipline PvP maybe, but not Shadow.

PvE Shadow - Raiding
MMO-Champion has a great tool for setting up talent specs, because you can include your glyphs as well, so we're going to be using that. This spec (14/0/57) will be a fairly cookie-cutter raiding build in patch 3.1, with only very minor variations from person to person. The Shadow tree isn't a very complicated one. Either a talent boosts your DPS, or it does something else. For a raiding spec, you want all of the DPS talents and you can skip all of the 'something else' talents unless they're mandatory for a DPS talent. It's pretty straightforward. Even in the Discipline tree the ultimate goal is to pick up the DPS talents, Twin Disciplines and Improved Inner Fire. Meditation isn't a direct DPS talent, but having no mana is certainly a DPS hit.

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

WoW Patch 3.1 PTR Shadow Priest changes

The PTR patch notes have hit, and while we don't have the entire spread of changes yet (they'll be coming in waves), we do have a lot of pretty good material to look at. Personally, I think the Shadow Priest changes are pretty great this time around. PvP Shadow Priests might feel a little disappointed, but PvE Priests should be fairly happy with how things are going so far.

Even PvP received a few good buffs, but while it's a step in the right direction, it simply isn't enough. It feels as if they're trying to approach some of the big issues carefully, when they really do need to go in there and start making pretty sweeping changes to the PvP-centric talents of the Shadow Priest. A lot needs to change to make the Shadow Priest relevant in PvP again without strapping a Warlock to their hip at all times.

Enough of that, though. Let's look into the changes, shall we?
  • Shadowfiend: Health scaling increased. Now receives 30% of the master's spell power. Mana return increased to 5%, up from 4%. The Shadowfiend now receives mana when its melee attacks land, rather than when it deals damage. Movement speed normalized to player movement speed. Tooltip revised.

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Filed under: Priest, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Wrath of the Lich King

Ghostcrawler gives specifics for patch 3.1 mana regen changes

One of the big changes coming in patch 3.1 is the change to mana regen, and it has a lot of people pretty frantic. The last thing healers want is for their life to become harder, right? Well, Ghostcrawler hit the forums today with some clarification on the subject.

Base regen (which is an equation that factors in both Intellect and Spirit) will be nerfed by about 40%. This means the mana you would regen while just standing around doing nothing will be quite a bit lower than it currently is. However, in exchange, regen-while-casting talents such as Meditation, Intensity, Spirit Tap and many others, whille be buffed so your in-combat mana regen shouldn't be harmed very much. It'll essentially prevent you from trying to wiggle in and out of the 5 second rule for big regen ticks, while not terribly bothering your mana regen while you're actually doing things.

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion

Shadow Priest talent build for Patch 3.0.2

Echoes of Doom is here, along with all of its tasty new talent points. Things haven't changed very much for us Shadow Priests. If you enjoyed the Shadow Priest playstyle before, you still will. The numbers you put out in terms of Healing, DPS and mana regen are wildly different, but the buttons you push are pretty much the same. If you found Shadow Priest playstyle (not necessarily the numbers game) a little stale before patch 3.0.2, this patch and even Wrath itself won't change that very much. If you plan on sticking with Shadow, good on ya.

I'm going to lay out my current Shadow talent build and explain why I picked the talents I did. Keep in mind that this spec is not for every aspect of the game. It's not even for every player. I'm using this spec as a level 70, PvE raiding spec. It's not perfect, I'm not completely happy with it, but I think that's because our trees are currently meant for level 80 and not level 70. I haven't been able to come up with something I like better yet. When I plan ahead for level 80, it feels much more complete. We don't have the luxury of those extra 10 talent points yet, so this is what I'm using for now:

Shadow

Tier 1
I skipped Blackout because its raiding applications are very limited. It works on some trash, but never bosses. That's a big 'meh' for sure. I went with Spirit Tap and Improved Spirit Tap, because that's going to act as a Shadow Priest's Meditation for now. Finally, Tier 1 of the Shadow tree has something genuinely useful to raiders!

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Filed under: Priest, Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask a Beta Tester: Spell power, phasing, and more


The image above has almost nothing to do with the content of today's Ask a Beta Tester, but I found it funny so you get to deal with it. We'll jump right into things with Turfing's question...

I have a priest alt getting close to 70. Planning on doing healing come Wrath. With the conversion to spell power should I be picking up healing gear or damage gear right now? How is, for instance, Spell fire stacking up against Primal Mooncloth? Is spellfire actually able to heal better right now in the beta? How about damage?

I strongly recommend hopping over to Wowhead's Wrath site and doing some research on how the numbers turn out. In most cases, DPS gear has better DPS stats (hit, crit) and Healing gear has better Healing stats. The spell power numbers are just much, much closer. In your particular example, the Primal Mooncloth Robe has more spell power than the Spellfire Robe, but it has mp5 and the Spellfire has crit. A DPS spec/class would rather have the crit.

A few weeks ago I covered the effects of the spell power change in Hybrid Theory, with some raw numbers to look at. You can read that over if you'd like, but I mostly just suggest hitting up wotlk.wowhead.com for specific items.

For more answers to your questions, read on!

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Filed under: Fishing, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: WoW as meditation

There are a million ways to relax in this modern era. Yoga, taichi, zen koans, transcendental meditation, knitting, and yes, video games. It might seem odd to mention video games in the same sentence as "zen" or "meditation," but think for a moment: most forms of meditation involve focusing on one simple thing, such as the flame of a candle, or the repetition of a mantra, and excluding all other thought. Doesn't World of Warcraft call this grinding?

Now, granted, there are plenty of complicated and interesting things to do in WoW that involve lots of concerted thought and could not be considered meditation. But couldn't grinding away on daily quests or farming for materials be considered a very modern way for some people to wind down, clear their mind of daily frustrations, and just be nothingness itself for a little while? I know for my part, playing WoW by myself for a while certainly isn't ecstatic communion with the divine, but it can be a great way to just put everything else away for a bit and come back to life feeling refreshed.

What do you think: is grinding a form of meditation for you, or is it just something to do when you're bored out of your mind?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

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