Spiritual Guidance: Holy and Discipline Priest Artifact weapons and more in Legion alpha
Priest healing specs aren’t open yet on the Legion alpha (obviously they’re too busy making us perfect right?), but Priest Artifact weapons and talent trees have made an initial appearance. Here we have a look at them, though keep in mind that they are subject to change at any moment, especially when they do get added and we’re able to test them. I’ll wait to pass judgement on any of these new options until gameplay and encounters are more tangible.
Congratulations, you get the old talent trees back — sort of. Since we’ll be able to fill in the entire tree eventually, the only decisions you’ll need to make are what you want right now. While it does sort of trivialize the “decision” aspect of the tree, there’s also an allure to completing the tree, and you can think of the final points as bonus spells, rather than being penalized for not taking something in favor of another thing. Your path through the tree will likely depend on the raid encounters and your group’s composition, taking initial talents that play up your strengths and needs.
We have a lot of minor increase “fluff” talents to fill in, which I can’t say I’m a fan of. Blizzard disliked them enough to remove them with the Mists of Pandaria talent tree revamp, and they just feel like superficial rewards. I’d rather have my decisions make a difference, instead of filling in fluff just to get to the next step. Perhaps if we could apply points in a less linear fashion I wouldn’t feel that way, but the points need to be capped in each spot in order to access the next talent.
- Your starter talent is Brightest Lights, Darkest Shadow. This is a nice passive buff that gives you a bonus based on what you’re doing. Your Holy spells will have a chance to send a wave of healing through your Atonement targets, and your Shadow spells will have a chance to increase your damage, which increases your healing.
- Your big talents: Barrier for the Devoted, Power of the Dark Side, Renewal of Faith.
- Modifiers: Confession, Vestments of Disciple, Shield of Faith, Burst of Light, The Edge of Dark and Light, Doomsayer, Pain is in Your Mind.
- Interesting: Speed of the Pious, Share in the Light, Sins of the Many, Rapid Atonement, The Light Returns.
We have the basic damage and healing modifiers: boost to healing/damage, reduction on cooldowns. Beyond those are some interesting talents that change gameplay in some way. Barrier for the Devoted provides a nice interactive healing component to Power Word: Barrier, as opposed to “fire and forget” placement.
Rapid Atonement basically encourages you to weave your Atonement and damage spells. Share in the Light is a weaker absorb version of Binding Heal or Beacon of Light, placing 15% of each shield you cast on yourself. It’s a helpful passive, since I tend to forget about myself in the middle of action and prioritize the rest of the raid over my health.
Speed of the Pious encourages you to cast Penance while on the move. Renewal of Faith and The Light Returns feature new spells Pontifex and Power Word: Nova. Nova has yet to appear in the database and I’ve heard indications here and there that Pontifex was either heavily changed or removed, so we have yet to see how those spells will affect talents and gameplay.
- Your starter talent is Invoke the Naaru. This gives you a chance to summon K’ure, who will essentially be your little copy-cat for 15 seconds by casting spells similar to yours. Another nice passive, introducing the Naaru as your close ally.
- Your big talents: Save the Fallen, Renew the Faith, Blessing of K’ure.
- Modifiers: Reverence, Faith Barrier, Holy Hands, Words of Healing, Holy Guidance, Serenity Now, Hallowed Ground.
- Interesting: Guardians of the Light, Holy Mending, Power of the Naaru, Say Your Prayers, Trust in the Light.
Save the Fallen looks to be quite strong and useful, basically taking Lightwell and buffing it up with a Lay on Hands. When someone in your raid drops below 40% health, K’ure can fully heal them every 90 seconds. This allows you to focus on triaging and rely on your Artifact to heal for you at times. Renew the Faith is also another strong talent for Holy, where your targeted healing spells will leave a Renew on a player. Holy’s burst healing capability looks to be very strong, and reminiscent of its burst back in Ulduar and Wrath of the Lich King.
Power of the Naaru and Hallowed Ground both mention Holy Word: Sanctuary, which I assume is a typo for Holy Word: Sanctify, since Sanctuary is not in the Legion database. With Trust in the Light, my first instinct is to say PVP. However, we don’t yet know what the encounters will be like, and perhaps we may run into one where we need to grip someone who is doing an important but dangerous job where that heal will be invaluable. Melee certainly aren’t going to appreciate us yanking them out of the action, but perhaps ranged DPS will be thankful for our efforts to remove them from the fire. Although that talent will make it harder to annoy your raid leader by gripping them into dangerous situations…
I appreciate the class flavor in these artifacts. Discipline reinforces the balance that they tenuously hold, constantly managing the Light and Shadow. I love Holy’s flavor, it feels like the Light is taking a very real and active interest in our deeds, stepping in when necessary to allow us to continue our work.
Talents are showing some fancy new spells, and definitely reflect that prominent class fantasy. I’m very interested to see how they interact with raid encounters, since I’ve always liked being able to take different options depending on the fight.
Starting at Level 15, you can either choose between damage buffs or turning Penance back into a defensive healing spell. Level 30 features your mobility — we have the usual fight between Angelic Feather and Body and Soul, depending on whether you need targeted speed increases on a person or at a place. Masochism is introduced as Discipline’s version of Desperate Prayer for healing yourself on the move with no penalty. Level 45 will be your crowd control, which has always depended heavily on personal preference and encounter design.
At level 60 we get mana regen, with our usual Solace vs. Mindbender debate, which has varied wildly throughout the expansions depending on haste points. Shield Discipline enters this as well, and the finer points of theorycrafting and math further into the alpha or expansion will likely solidify their usefulness. Level 75 introduces Contrition, which will provide leeway on managing buffs by extending Atonement’s duration.
Level 90, AoE spells! …And…Clarity of Will? I suppose the argument could be made that you’re making the choice between AoE and single target cushion, but it feels out of place to me, as though it was just dropped into an open slot for now. I suspect we might see some rearranging in future builds. Finally, at Level 100, Grace returns, along with DPS management and intricate Shadow healing. I don’t see Grace getting much use, merely because Blizzard wants Discipline to focus on DPSing to heal, and buffing non-Atonement healing (our new core gameplay) feels like it directly goes against that.
While it can create interesting gameplay, I really don’t like the DPS management side of Discipline. It feels like jack of all trades, master of none. Not only do we have the DPS aspect of managing adds and DPS on different encounters, but we also have to manage our healing at the same time. Can we really excel at both at simultaneously? That’s a lot of managing. However, I do like the flavor of using Shadow to do healing but at a definite cost (does damage or absorbs healing).
For those who liked Chakras, Enduring Renewal is here at level 15 for you, along with mana management and a single target buff. Level 30 is where your mobility comes into play. Angelic Feather is ever popular, good for getting somewhere fast, and Desperate Prayer is apparently your choice if you need to heal yourself on the go. Path of Light is new, and seems to be Holy’s replacement for Body and Soul (which never made much sense for Holy anyway). Instead of casting shields on players, you’ll cast Levitate to increase their speed. This is nice in that you aren’t limited by Weakened Soul or feather charges, and will be the option to take if you have dedicated people who need a speed boost at a specific time for kiting or other.
Level 45 is your crowd control, and level 60 is all new! Here is your choice of utility between Light of the Naaru, Guardian Angel, and Symbol of Hope. Guardian Angel is actually not entirely new, and its mechanic used to be Glyph of Guardian Spirit back in Wrath of the Lich King. Symbol of Hope is the revamped return of Hymn of Hope, and provides extreme utility to the raid at the cost of your own mobility. At Level 75, Binding Heal has returned as a talent, though now with the glyph baked in.
Level 90, we have our AoE options, with Divinity taking the place of Cascade. Level 100, Circle of Healing returns as well, but with a 2.5 second cast time. This makes it far too similar to Prayer of Healing and I hope it is changed or it will be often ignored in favor of the more exciting Apotheosis or Benediction.
That’s all for this episode. Tune in next time when we see whether or not alpha’s holiday break added in our favorite healing specs.
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