suggested changes to the Priest talent tree in Cataclysm are
finally here for your analysis. As is to be expected there are
huge changes across the board. No tree has been left untouched with
talents added, removed, and rearranged for better or worse to create
the Priest talent tree of the future.
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Let’s take a closer look at the Priest talents starting with
the Discipline tree.
Discipline just might have one of the least changed talent trees I have
seen so far. While a few talents have been removed many others have
simply been reworked slightly and moved to what Blizzard sees as a more
appropriate spot in the tree. For example Twin Disciplines was left
intact in Tier 1, however a small change that could be easily
overlooked was added to this talent that will make all the difference
to a Disc Priest. Now instead of simply increasing the damage and
healing done by instant spells, this talent will also increase the
damage absorbed by Power Word: Shield.
The new additions to the tree include Atonement, Evangelism, and
Archangel which all have very cool names, however a brief look over the
effects of these new abilities has left me scratching my head in
puzzlement. All three talents seem to be heavily PvP based as they all
require the Priest to do damage (with Smite) to gain the bonuses.
However Blizzard has made the effects of these talents rather appealing
to PvE players as well, offering up a splash heal, and bonuses to
Penance. This leaves me to wonder if Discipline Priests in Cataclysm
will be doing some damage to supplement their healing abilities.
There is some exciting news for PvE players, Blizzard has finally heard
our demands and has added Power Word: Barrier. As the name implies this
spell summons a barrier on a target location that absorbs any damage
done to any raid or party members inside of it. The shield
lasts for 15 seconds or until a set amount of damage is absorbed by it
and players inside the shield spell casting will not be interrupted by
damage. The cooldown on this spell is 3 minutes leaving something to be
desired, however if Blizzard continues to push for longer fights
ranging in the 6 minute mark and up Power Word: Barrier with
it’s elimination of pushback will become a useful tool for
PvE and PvP indeed.
If Blizzard’s past talk about Priests using Heal and Greater
Heal more in Cataclysm wasn’t enough to convince you they
meant exactly what they said, this set of talents certainly drives home
the point. Divine Fury has been moved from Tier 1 to Tier 2 ensuring
that Holy Priests will need to put at least three points in this once
overlooked talent. Empowered Healing another often forgotten spell that
once made it’s home in Tier 8 has been moved to Tier 2. An
added bonus to Heal has been added to the spell further pointing
towards the fact that like Divine Fury this talent will become a
mandatory part of any Holy Priest’s talent tree.
Choir Leader gives us hope that Hymns will have more of a role in the
way Holy Priests play. While this talent leaves me with the feeling
that it will benefit the Priest more than the raid I think that this is
indeed a step in the right direction and perhaps we will see Hymns play
a larger role in Priest healing in Cataclysm. Chakra, the other new
talent introduced to the talent tree, is far more promising. Priests
that choose to take this talent will be offered a special Chakra state
empowering the Priest for 20 seconds whenever Prayer of Healing, Renew,
or Heal is cast three times in a row. Different Chakra states come from
each type of heal, all of which add benefits to the heal that triggered
the Chakra state. All this points to a completely new and exciting
style of healing for Holy Priests in Cataclysm.
Unfortunately there is a downside, at least in my opinion, to Chakra.
In order to gain this talent Priests will need to first spec into
Lightwell. I have felt for a long time Lightwell has needed a major
overhaul, but Blizzard apparently does not feel the same way. Perhaps
by forcing Priests to use take this talent they will finally see what
dud it is, or maybe a creative use can be found for it. Don’t
think about skipping out on Chakra either, as Spiritual Guidance has
been combined into this talent so Priests who want to make use of the
extra 25% Spellpower from spirit will need to invest the points in
Lightwell and Chakra.
Sure to get Holy Priests up in arms Blizzard is upping the cooldown of
Circle of Healing from 6 to 10 seconds, which is not surprising when
you think about it as not so long ago the same was done to the
Druid’s Wild Growth. Blizzard claims they are tying to make
Circle of Healing feel more special, and also trying to get Priests to
use a wider range of spells. I personally will be holding judgment on
this change until Cataclysm releases.
Shadow Priests seem to be once again getting the raw end of the deal at
least in the talent tree department. Spirit Tap is gone, however
Improved Spirit Tap is still alive and well. Why? Your guess is as good
as mine as it seems clear to me without the original Spirit Tap in
place, there is nothing left to improve. The new talent tree also
focuses heavily on making leveling easier, with the addition of Dark
Thoughts to Tier 1, finally making a talent that reduces pushback
available to lower level Priests. Also Shadow Weaving has
been moved to Tier 2 allowing leveling Priests to up their damage
The tooltip for Shadowform has been simplified, don’t fret
though the talent remains mainly unchanged. The only real difference is
that Cure and Abolish Disease are no longer considered Holy spells and
as such Priests will be able to cast them in Shadow form. A more
notable change takes shape in Improved Shadowform, as Priests that take
this talent will now provide a haste buff for all nearby party and raid
members, making this ability a must have for Shadow Priests and also
making sure that Shadow Priests will be a valuable asset to any group.
Shadowy Apparition and Empowered Shadow Orbs, two new talents also make
their debut in the Shadow tree. If these two new talents actually hold
any promise remains to be seen but they sound rather promising. And if
all else fails hopefully at least Shadowy Apparition will provoke an
epic explosion when active.
Overall the changes to the Priest talent trees are sketchy. With
Blizzard focusing more on catering to leveling Priests, than those who
play at end game. However these trees give me hope that new doors will
be open in Cataclysm for the Priest class, allowing greater use of
spells, and forcing players to do more than spam one or two buttons
whilst playing the class. Honestly though I am reserving most of my
judgment for when Cataclysm actually releases as this is nothing more
than a Preview and as we all know with Blizzard things are bound to
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