WoWphiles made the tactical error of inviting Liala from Disciplinary Action on to their show to discuss the changes to the Discipline Priest class in 4.0. We had a great time talking about disc healing and you can check out the podcast in its entirety at the WoWphiles site (and once and for all answer the burning question: is Liala really a burly northern Canadian woodsman or a Japanese schoolgirl?).
WoWphiles is inviting three spec experts per episode until they get through them all. This, the first of their podcast series, explores Disc Priests (with yours truly), Survival Hunters with Bliky from One Man Raid, and Protection Warriors with my personal Prot guru, Linedan from Achtung Panzercow.
If you’ve already listened to the show and would like more information on the topics I discussed, please check out:
The 4.0.1 pre-Cataclysm patch introduces us to the wonderful world of reforging. Blizzard describes it thusly:
Originally a magic brought to the citizens of Azeroth by the Highborne, reforging will provide a new means for players to customize their gear in World of Warcraft: Cataclysm. NPCs offering reforging services will be located in all major cities, ready to assist in customizing items by altering the stats they provide. Players can use reforging to modify an item’s stat values, or to undo any previous changes and allow different customization choices.
So, how do you get all your gear in top working order as a discipline priest? By using this handy guide, of course!
GENERAL GUIDE TO STATS
Intellect > Spirit > Mastery > Haste (to 25%) > Crit
If you’re running out of mana, use: Spirit > Intellect > Crit > Mastery > Haste (to 25%)
Temporary Edit: Don’t bother with Mastery right now in 4.0.1. The return on your investment is very, very low for the time being.
Intellect: Size of your mana pool
Spirit: Regeneration rate of your mana pool
Critical Strike: The chance a spell will provide be critical (larger than normal)
Haste: The speed at which you cast spells
Mastery: A bonus to your talent tree specialization (mana regen, healing bonus, and PW:Shield bonus for us disc priests)
You Don’t Want…
GUIDE TO GEMS
Anything ‘Brilliant’ (+intellect)
‘Energized’ (+haste, +spirit)
‘Forceful’ (PvP only; +haste, +stamina)
‘Misty’ (+crit, +spirit)
‘Nightmare Tear’ (+all stats)
‘Potent’ (+intellect, +crit)
‘Purified’ (+intellect, +spirit)
‘Reckless’ (+haste, +intellect)
‘Timeless’ (PvP only; +intellect, +stamina)
‘Turbid’ (PvP only; +spirit, +resilience)
‘Wilful’ (PvP only; +intellect, +resilience)
‘Accurate’ ‘Bold’ ‘Champion’
‘Deadly’ ‘Defender’ ‘Deft’
‘Delicate’ ‘Etched’ ‘Fierce’
‘Flashing’ ‘Glinting’ ‘Inscribed’
‘Jagged’ ‘Lightning’ ‘Lucent’
‘Mysterious’ ‘Nimble’ ‘Polished’
‘Precise’ ‘Radiant’ ‘Regal’
‘Resolute’ ‘Resplendent’ ‘Rigid’
‘Shifting’ ‘Solid’ ‘Sovereign’
‘Splendid’ ‘Stalwart’ ‘Steady’
‘Stormy’ ‘Subtle’ ‘Veiled’
GUIDE TO REFORGING
You can’t change the four primary stats (Stamina, Intellect, Agility, and Strength), but you can modify the eight secondary stats (Spirit, Hit Rating, Expertise Rating, Critical Strike Rating, Haste Rating, Mastery Rating, Parry Rating, and Dodge Rating).
So far, there are no Mastery gems; if you want Mastery stats on your gear, reforging is currently the only way to get it.
You can find yourself on wowarmory.com and check out your stats- they’re under your feet. Look at your overall ratings and see where you need improvement, then reforge to pick up anywhere you have low ratings.
Reforgers are located in every capital city; just ask a guard with a map icon for directions.
You Want… You Don’t Want…
Critical Strike Dodge
It seems that many people are having a big problem with the Blizzard Background Dowloader when trying to update to patch 4.0.0 from patch 3.5.5; I feel your pain, as I was as well. With slow download speeds placing my patch time at around 4 DAYS, I thought I’d hunt around for a solution. And lo, the solution is easy!
1. Start your background downloader by either starting your game or double-clicking ‘Background Downloader’ in (World of Warcraft folder location)> World of Warcraft.
2. Let the Background Downloader run until you’ve achieved at least 1% of the download. If your Background Downloader is hidden, double-click on the Blizzard icon in your system try (bottom right of your screen) to embiggen it. Once you’re at 1% or more, right-click on the icon to exit out of the Background Downloader.
3. Open the folder (World of Warcraft directory)>World of Warcraft>Cache and locate the BackgroundDownload.torr file. If you can’t see the “.torr” part, that’s okay.
4. Open your favorite torrent downloader. I like BitComet, myself.
5. Pull the BackgroundDownload.torr file into BitComet. Click ‘Download Now’.
6. Enjoy the lightening-fast download speeds.
7. When the file is complete, locate the BackgroundDownload file in Cache and move it to the folder labeled ‘Updates’.
8. The End.
– MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD –
– I MEAN IT. MASSIVE. –
Disciplinary Action is in the 4.0.1 pre-Cataclysm PTR beta and here to give you the inside scoop on all the changes coming to priests dropping in the next patch. Now, on with the show!
I rolled a brand-new Liala the Priest on the EU Brill server (hey, when am I ever going to get to talk to our brethren across the pond again?). The Character Transfer is still in stasis for me, so we’re focusing this time around on all the shiny new things you get to play with from the get-go.
The new patch downloader (above) allows you to start playing, with the patch continuing to download in the background, after only a fraction of the patch has been completed. Early problems with this system seem to have been very nicely cleaned up; I jumped in when the downloader was at a tiny 5% complete, and had very little trouble accessing the areas I needed.
Blizzard’s done a great job of prioritizing the download of places you’re currently viewing. Non-downloaded content shows up as a shimmering blue smoke, which soon coalesces into the docks at Auberdine, say, or Stormwind castle. If you’re an impatient hothead like myself, you will have a brief (1-3 minute) layover in screenshot land while your starting area is loaded for the first time. The whole process is greatly improved, though, and seems to be working as intended.
THE NEW SPELLBOOK
For All Screenshots: Click to embiggen. The Spellbook has undergone a complete overhaul. Spells now increase in size automatically as you level, rather than needing to be trained at each level at a trainer. With a new look and this new scaling functionality, the Spellbook is looking pretty sharp:
For those of us with 80 priests, note that we’ll be getting back on that leveling treadmill and fast if we want to get back some of our precious spells: Inner Will is not available until level 83, and the new and exciting Leap of Faith (for you Holies) is unavailable until level 85. Mind Spike, Shadow people, is available at 81.
THE NEW PRIEST TRAINERS
Here as well a new interface makes visiting your Priest trainer feel far more streamlined:
I sincerely doubt the cost of every spell will be, in the end, 10 coppers; however, we can make the educated assumption that the prices will be somewhat similar to the price levels we currently have in Wrath. My guess is that an endgame-level spell will run you something like 10 to 20 gold.
Looking more closely at the Priest trainer screens, we encounter our first new spell, Mysticism, at level 50. Mysticism is currently tooltipped as a passive bonus that increases Intellect by 5%. Further down the list, Mind Spike provides a Shadowfrost damage and debuff with 1.5 sec cast and no cooldown for the Shadow Priests. Leap of Faith, aka ‘Life Grip’, is available at level 85 and- in case you’ve been hiding under a rock- enables a priest to seize an errant DPS and pull him out of harm’s way. Certainly no one would abuse this privilege for the purposes of base amusement. Ahem. Onward.
Mastery, as for all classes, allows you to specialize in one field of priesting: Discipline Priest Mastery (Absorption) gives you a shield absorb bonus; Holy Priest Mastery (Radiance) places an HoT on any target that is the target of a direct heal. Shadow Mastery is a new mechanism, Shadow Orbs, a chance-cast floating ball system (I see you sniggering in the back) that fly around the caster and cause shadow damage.
You’re now able to select multiple tracking types on the minimap. Not specifically for priests, but for the gathering professions among us, WOOT!
With the addition of Archaeology, we now have four secondary professions (First Aid, Cooking, Fishing, and Archaeology) in addition to our standard two primary professions. The professions pane is greatly cleaned up and enchanced, and profession trainers have the same streamlined look as the class trainers.
The Horde Archaeology trainer is Belloc Brightblade, in Grommash Hold, Ogrimmar (he’s a belf wearing a white hat and jacket); the Alliance Archaeology trainer is Harrison Jones in Stormwind Keep, Stormwind.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this first look at the 4.0.1 priest changes. As soon as the character transfers unblock themselves, we’ll take an in-depth look at the higher-level spells and get a peek at the new Talents pane!
Possible spoilers ahead!
Patch 4.0.1 is live on the Public Test Realms (PTR).
You can go copy your character and play around in there and get so excited you’re going to die.
We will be going there directly this evening, copying our priest, and reporting back tonight.
There was nothing specifically about priests in the PTR Patch Notes posted on the forums, but you can read the blue post in its entirety here. Basically, the actual Cataclysm has not yet happened- Dragonwing hasn’t spread his wings of destruction across the continents- but there are enough strange changes to keep us happy for some weeks. For now, here are the known quick-and-dirty changes for the priests:
BY LEVEL FORTY, you should have this whole healing thing well in hand. Whether you’ve taken up with a sympathetic tank and the two of you terrorize the countryside, or you’ve become a past master of the Looking For Dungeon Tool, this stretch of leveling road is an opportunity to truly hone your craft.
Your Satchel of Helpful Goods these days will contain items for your shoulders and fingers; with two fingers, you’ll likely make out with three free blues in this leveling section, rather than two. Don’t forget and accidentally purchase those expensive, uber-sexy shoulders right when you ding 40.
Acquiring higher-end (read: more expensive) crafting mats should drive much of your choices about where to level. Mats for items in the 200-300 level range can be more expensive than top-tier crafting mats, and buying them on the auction house is likely going to bankrupt you (unless that tank you found happens to double as your sugar daddy). To add insult to injury, much of what you’re crafting at these levels isn’t going to sell for much, if anything. Mageweave in particular is tough on the pocketbook at this point, but can be farmed successfully in Felwood at this level. Tanaris becomes particularly profitable for miners and skinners from these levels forward, and you can quest there to boot.
And don’t forget to pick up your Journeyman riding skill and a sweet new mount when you hit 40.
A slow casting spell that heals a single target for X to Y.
Slow and big. Big and slow. Though the name couldn’t be more boring, and it is a spell geared towards Holy priests, this is a handy spell to rely on when you know your tank is about to take a massive damage hit. Also useful for topping yourself up from near-zero after a particularly nasty solo leveling run-in.
Power infuses all party and raid members, increasing their Stamina by X for 1.00 hour.
Prayer of Fortitude, like the later Prayer of Shadow Protection and Prayer of Spirit, is a party-wide buff that uses one Devout Candle as its reagent. You’ll be casting all three before every raid and instance, and it’s useful not to have to stand around and hit five people individually with Power Word: Fortitude. Party-wide buffs are your responsibility as a good healer, so do stock up on the candles.
5 out of 5 points: Increases your total intellect by X%.
Continuing from last time, you’ll finish picking up these talents at 41, 42, and 43. At this point, your mana pool can handle the drain of mana that all those more powerful spells will require.
2 points: Increases damage and healing done by your spells by X%. In addition, your Mass Dispel cast time is reduced by Y sec.
Focused Power is a no-brainer, now that it increases your healing by 2% with the first rank and 4% with the second rank. Mass Dispel also gets a boost, but that will come in handy more in the Icecrown Citadel fights than in the earlier instances.
3 points: Increases your Spell Haste, and Spirit by X%.
It’s popular these days to pooh-pooh Spirit, but its importance to the size of your mana pool is undeniable. As mana management becomes more of an issue, Spirit’s importance grows. As you level, mana pool size is more important than it is during raiding, when gear can pick up the mana slack, so pick up both levels here. And in no universe is more haste not a good thing!
1 point: Infuses the target with power, increasing spell casting speed by 20% and reducing the mana cost of all spells by 20%. Lasts 15 sec.
Though I hesitate to add anything to your casting bar so early on, I go for Power Infusion this early in the game to give every aspiring Disco priest an opportunity to remember to use it. Power Infusion is a fantastic ability, but with its long cooldown and slightly obscure usage, its easy to forget to mash it when needed. Part of the reason you’re leveling as a Disco is to really learn to use your spells to their best effect: picking up Power Infusion early will hopefully increase your use of this, the most underutilized of utility spells.
1 out of 5: Reduces the mana cost of your Flash Heal by X% and increases the critical effect chance of your Flash Heal by Y% on friendly targets at or below 50% health.
Start pushing points into a very unexciting but useful talent that improves your Flash Heal substantially by the time you take all five points (which you will, in the end). Though unsexy, you’ll be glad you did.
3 points: After taking a critical hit you gain the Focused Will effect, reducing all damage taken by X% and increasing healing effects on you by Y%. Stacks up to 3 times. Lasts 8 sec.
Finish out your talent tree to 50 by picking up all three ranks of Focused Will. Though ostensibly a PvP talent, if you find yourself running a lot of PUGs with tanks who can’t hold aggro, or solo/duo leveling, you’ll be glad you did. This makes it onto my list of essential talents in the as you finish up towards fifty solely because when you hit level 60, the Outlands instances you’ll be running introduces you to a massive influx of Death Knight tanks who have little to no experience tanking. There are exceptions of course, but chances are enormous that you’ll be on the receiving end of a larger number of hits than ever before. It’s nice to roll with the punches.
By level 50, then, your talent tree will look like this: