Healing priests are seeing many changes in the Warlords of Draenor alpha patch notes.
First, Disc Priests will certainly to be disappointed to know – however, not likely to be surprised – that Atonement is getting nerfed. Blizzard admits that he grew out of control during Mists of Pandaria, and it wasn’t unusual to see Disc Priests doing nothing but Smiting with some Power Word: Shields thrown in for good measure.
Atonement healing has been reduced by 25%. However, Smite has been buffed by 20%. What does this mean overall for Atonement? Fortunately, Twintop (@TwintopTahoe) has already done the math for us at H2P.
Smite does 100 dmg now. Atonement does 90 healing.
The atonement change, 25% less, means Atonement (should) now do 67.5% of the dmg done as healing.
If Smite is buffed by 20%, then our Smite cast now does 120 dmg, and 120 * 0.675 = 81 healing.
So it is a net nerf.
Disc Priests have also become overpowered with their level 90 tier talents – Cascade, Divine Star and Halo. When Blizzard removed AOE cap from the spells in that particular tier, Priests completely dominated healing meters for the majority of fights, due to the way the overhealing interacted with Divine Aegis, which meant the raid was being shielded with huge absorbs. This left other healers with little to heal, while waiting for the damage to burn through the huge Disc Priest absorbs first. Blizzard has returned AOE capping to Halo and Divine Star.
We are also seeing some changes with Chakras, because they were concerned about it being a penalty for being in the wrong Chakra, as opposed to the planned bonus of being in the correct one.
Chakra: Serenity now increases healing of single-target spells by 10% (down from 25%).
Holy Word: Serenity now heals for 40% more than before.
Chakra: Sanctuary now increases healing of area-of-effect spells by 10% (down from 25%).
Holy Word: Sanctuary now heals for 60% more than before.
Rapid Renewal no longer reduces the global cooldown of Renew.
Prayer of Mending is undergoing a change which many priests are to be pretty happy about. Prayer of Mending has the stipulation that “This spell can only be placed on one target at a time.” It wasn’t unusual for Prayer of Mending wars to break out, especially for those looking to rank on fights. Multiple priests can have Prayer of Mending on the same target now.
Holy Nova has been made a Disc Priest only spell, and will no longer require a glyph. Healing from it has been increased, to provide Disco Priests with an AOE heal.
Many instant cast heals have been given a 1.5 second cast time, which includes the 90 tier talents.
Prayer of Mending now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast).
Cascade now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast).
Divine Star now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast).
Halo now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast).
Heal has been removed. But they have made their differences between what they see as mana efficient versus mana intensive with a higher throughput.
Priest Higher Efficiency: Greater Heal, Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Holy Nova (new Discipline-only version), Penance
Priest Higher Throughput: Flash Heal, Prayer of Healing
There is also a significant amount of abilities being pruned from Priests (and from all classes).
Binding Heal is no longer available to Shadow Priests.
Hymn of Hope has been removed.
Heal has been removed.
Greater Heal has been renamed Heal.
Inner Focus no longer provides any mana cost reduction.
Rapture has been removed.
Renew is now available only to Holy Priests
Shadow Word: Death is now available only to Shadow Priests.
Void Shift has been removed.
Inner Fire has been removed.
Inner Will has been removed.
The Hymn of Hope removal (and the nerf to Mana Tide Totem) will be felt from healers relying on those mana sources for mana regen. Blizzard felt too many healers were reforging out of too much spirit while relying on outside mana sources. However, this will definitely be felt in WoD when every last mana point counts.
For Disc Priests, their power has always been in their ability to create those huge absorbs. What does this mean for disc priests going into WoD? Blizzard is planning to have less first healing, and they don’t expect the raid to be at 100% health the majority of the time. But whatever there is any kind of damage going out, disc priests nearly always will perform well – although at the start of Mists of Pandaria, Disc Priests were fairly weak compared to other healing classes.
On the positive side, Priests have the ability to change healing specs between Disc and Holy depending on which spec is looking the best once we hit the first tier of raiding in WoD – other healing classes don’t have that luxury, as it will require leveling another healing class to 100, if their preferred healing class isn’t performing well. And healing Priests often found themselves having to switch specs this expansion since some fights heavily favored Holy while others heavily favored Disc.
We will have more Disc and Holy Priest notes as we continue to watch blue tweets.