Posted by: Makakai | October 7, 2011

/Inspect Priest

This week I took a closer look at the Priest Class Feedback Forum, which is brought to you by the forum quote “Holy is like the Edward Cullen of Priest specs – sparkly but useless”. I will also admit it was interesting going through the priest responses compared to the druid responses because there were a lot more comments that fell on either end of the verbose spectrum, either monosyllabic or so wordy they needed two posts.

This sample of priest posts were drawn from a semi-random sample of 3 pages on the forum and since all three specs can do healing, holy or disc specific comments were targeted. The 32 posts I looked at contained 15 posters claiming at least some PvP experience and all but one claiming PvE experience. Four (4) of these posters did indicate that they had very little healing experience or that healing was a secondary spec or play style for them. The posts were also nearly evenly experienced with 15 having healed as Holy and 19 having healed as Disc priests.

An interesting comment that kept weaving through several of the posts was that Holy priests felt that they were forced to spec Disc in order to gain raid spots (at least 3 specific comments). However, based on the sub-sample collected it looks like the Holy priests are still out there holding their own. In fact, 1 post discussed how much they enjoyed Holy healing in raids compared to other healers. This sounded to me more like a guild problem than anything else.

Another freqently cited topic was the state of cooldowns for priests, Holy specifically. This seemed to be the biggest factor as to why many of the holy priests claimed they didn’t get raid spots. Seven (7) comments specifically requested raid wide cooldowns for Holy and one (1) comment added an improvement to Guardian Spirit. Of course, I also saw mention by two posters that both Power Word: Barrier and Guardian Spirit were too situational to be effective. So, there may be a situational factor with the Guardian Spirit Cooldown that is causing problems too.

Atonement and Archangel specs for Disc priests were a frequent topic of discussion, as 6 posts indicated problems with different aspecs of this spec. The major problem was the range issues priests were expriencing with certain fights that are slated to be fixed in the 4.3 patch (source). Interestingly, one of the posts also mentioned the investment involved in the Archangel/Atonement spec, as it requires 5 talent points and 2 major glyphs to be effective. On a more asthetic note, one post recommended increasing the size of Archangel wings on Tauren, something I’ve certainly heard mentioned being slightly odd looking.

It also seems that discipline priests (7 posts) are finding that the Mastery talent needs to be reworked. Having a limited number of spells affected by our mastery and the weak balance of Divine Aegis itself were mentioned as factors. In fact 2 comments mentioned wish list ideas for reworking Divine Aegis by perhaps moving it to a multi-target shield spell.

It would also seem (and from my own experience) that priests are experiencing some problems in PvP with regard to mana and melee. Five (5) posts mentioned that one of their quality of life issues is the inability to counter melee focus and melee cleave teams. While, only one (1) post mentioned that mana issues in pvp were a quality of life issue. Of course, Blizzard will also have to wade through posts by very confused priests, such as the one that mentioned that a problem with the class is that “the only cc we really have is fear ward”.

Additionally, it appears that priests have the same problem as Druids in that 28% of the posters reviewed indicated that one of their least used spells was either Heal or Flash Heal. So how about the priests take the time machine back to last week’s Druid Introspection and return. Back? Good. Then maybe you noticed that the Priest Heal is competitive within the pack, slightly below Paladins but slightly above Druids and Shaman in terms of effective HP. What’s the problem here? Perhaps it is the weak state of Heal and the mana consumption of Flash Heal as they were the topic for a couple of the comments for other questions.

The other spells that are less frequently used included Mind Sooth (12 posts), Holy Nova (11 posts), Renew (10 posts), and Mind Vision (5 posts). I imagine that Blizzard would agree that Mind Sooth and Mind Vision are situational spells and there is a reason that they don’t see a lot of use. As for Renew and Holy Nova, I suspect that we’ll see something Soon™; from Blizzard in response to the utilization of these two spells.

I hope these class feedback reviews are motivating other healers to think about how their class functions and that comparing your perceptions are not always the most effective way to evaluate a particular class. It has certainly been interesting to review these comments and realize that some of the healing population (regardless of class so far) lack understanding of the differences that Blizzard has built into the different classes.

Happy Healing!

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