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WoW: Priest Talents Unveiled

Posted Fri, Jun 11, 2010 by Mem

The 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.
 
Check out the complete list of talent changes here.

Let’s take a closer look at the Priest talents starting with the Discipline tree.

Discipline

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.

Holy

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
posse
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

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 abilities sooner.

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 change.

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