Penance Priest

Discipline Priest Blog

These are big ones, people. We’re not talking about minor tweaks, like adjusting the spell coefficient on Penance. We’re not even talking about big tweaks like the recent haste buff to shadow. These class changes are shaping up to be a sizable earthquake.

My metaphor is unfortunate. I don’t think the changes are all bad. They’re just BIG ones. Our go-to heals will be different. Our buffs will be different. Our inter-class mechanics will be different. Our mobility, dps rotation, mana management, ohshit buttons… did I miss anything?

There will be a lot to test, a lot to change before putting in a report card. In general though, I like the direction, I like the creativity, and I like the size of the change.

And with any shift of this magnitude, there are two major processes that are guaranteed to happen along the way. First, the class-specific abilities will need to be tweaked. How much will the new Heal spell heal for? What’s the cooldown and threat-adjustment mechanic on Leap of Faith? What is the relationship between the current PW:Shield, the new PW:Barrier, and the possible inclusion of a new, smaller shield, especially in relation to Weakened Soul? With the right tweaks, Blizzard will be able to give us a dynamic, fun, and powerful class.

The second process that will happen is the inter-class balancing act. If they are going to make every healing spec into a viable, multi-shaped “peg” to fit into each raid “hole,” there will be a long series of adjustments to coefficients, cooldowns, and talent boosts. The skill and artistry of the game-designing team shows itself here more than anywhere. The 10-dimensional math puzzle they’ve created isn’t solvable in a single, perfect solution; but it has some very creative possibilities that they don’t seem scared of tackling. I mean, look what they’re doing for mobility: they’ve released previews for two healing classes, and both of them have mobility boosters. Different, not equal, but still parallel upgrades. Nice job… to be continued, I’m sure.

But wait, there’s more! There’s a third bonus process: encounter design. It’s not as separate from class-design as you might think. Blizzard designs encounters around the capabilities that we have, at least to some extent. We will have interesting opportunities to Life Grip that go far beyond yoinking suicidal hunters out of the fire. We will have challenges to our mana pools that we haven’t experienced in years. We will have moments when the mobility boost of Inner Will becomes an obvious and exciting choice. We will see progression encounters which will test your spell selection, and you will only pass if you get a 90% score or better.

The earthquake will shake things up a LOT. Do not expect all the pieces to land perfectly where they should be. It will take time, and it will be frustrating.

But honestly, I’m very excited about the magnitude of the changes that Blizzard is implementing. It’s a huge project. As GC has said, a game designer needs to learn how to kill his “babies.” We players need to learn to let go of those babies, even ones we’ve grown quite fond of.

Bottom line? HELL YEAH. The changes are big but not a complete gutting of the class(es). It’s very hard to comment on specifics so soon; mechanics have barely been revealed, and are subject to more big adjustments. It will take some time to grok the new talents and see how they can be best used in practice. Folks will get very creative with new mechanics, as they always do. We’re in for quite a ride!

(8) Comments

  1. 4/08/2010 2:57 PM Kevin

    As a fairly recent member of the disc priest club (hunter main and paladin tank leveled to 80 and geared before I even started a priest) I am intrigued by the preview

    Of particular interest is the 'tank' shield and how that might interplay with the smaller shield. Lots of directions they could go, several dynamics that will be in play include will be how much bigger the adsorb is than the regular PW:S, casting cooldown or target debuff cooldown, mana usage, and of course things like glyphs and talent tree choices that might alter all of the above. Depending on implementation I could see less Holy/Disc dual spec and more Disc1 (Tank)/Disc 2 (Raid) options with trees and glyphs to match.

     
    4/08/2010 3:41 PM sriggins

    My main issue is where to put new spells on my Naga :)

     
    4/08/2010 4:22 PM Ceralyn

    "But wait, there’s more! There’s a third bonus process: encounter design. It’s not as separate from class-design as you might think. Blizzard designs encounters around the capabilities that we have, at least to some extent. We will have interesting opportunities to Life Grip that go far beyond yoinking suicidal hunters out of the fire. We will have challenges to our mana pools that we haven’t experienced in years. We will have moments when the mobility boost of Inner Will becomes an obvious and exciting choice. We will see progression encounters which will test your spell selection, and you will only pass if you get a 90% score or better."

    This is what's especially exciting to me right now. I can't wait to tackle the challenges, and I can't wait to see the world they unleash us and our new abilities into.

    The fine tuning will take time, and I hope it all goes well in the end.

    In the meantime, it's really time to start getting excited for the next steps!

     
    4/08/2010 4:42 PM Matt

    I'm guessing they're intending the raid-healing discipline shield spammer to become a thing of the past, and that you'd be more of a tank healer while your raid healing capabilities - a la PW:Barrier - are more just icing on the cake.

    If that's the case, I welcome the change, because I'm kindof sick of just spamming shields all around and not getting to really tank heal too much due to the perception (which I hold) that it's just superior to roll with two holy pallies to cover tank heals.

    And I really like the new 'gadget' moves in life grip and inner will.

     
    4/08/2010 6:57 PM Sinespe

    LIFE GRIP. <3

     
    4/10/2010 3:22 PM That kid with all the problems

    Yeah, I completely agree with matt. Even if they don't make us "tank" healers, having a larger arsenal of discipline type spells to use on raid and tanks makes me very happy. I'm quite fine with being the assistant type of healer, preventing damage while others heal it. It's what I love about the class. So more spells like that are what make me want to continue to play my priest into the next expansion.
    -Coia

     
    4/11/2010 4:15 PM j.Cusano

    I'm excited, but also a bit concerned about option overload. All of our spells will now scale to 85 (good riddance ranks), so we will have every ability we currently have on our actionbars at 80, plus:

    Heal (is coming back)
    Power Word: Barrier
    Power Word: Greater Shield (maybe)
    Life Grip (sorry Blizz, no one's calling it Leap of Faith)
    Inner Will
    Mind Spike

    Ability overload is one of the main reasons I've all but completely stopped playing my hunter. As it is, I couldn't play that class anywhere NEAR its full potential without a plethora of macros. I'd really hate to see the same thing happen with priests...

     
    7/05/2010 3:51 AM lecoquelicot

    Oh no... I'm playing a disc priest because I cannot handle too many buttons and options... -> typical girl with slow reflexes here

     

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