Posted by: Makakai | October 27, 2011

New Talents from the Mists

After reviewing the class feedback over the last couple of weeks, it’s interesting to come out of Blizzcon 2011 with some real differences to the classes. It was pretty clear from the feedback the the combinations of talents and spells for most of the healing classes are not working very well overall. One of the ways that Blizzard is trying to address this is with a complete change to talent trees.

For each healing class the 6 tiers of talents can be categorized into basic groupings of talents, of which the healing capable classes all seem to have similar groupings. In no particular order of priority the six groupings seem to be mobility, crowd control, dealing with damage, healing based, class defining, and cooldowns.

Druid Level 90 Selections

Level 15: Mobility
Feline Swiftness: Increases your movement speed by 10% and by an additional 20% whilst in Cat Form.
Displacer Beast and Tireless Pursuit both require Cat Form to be usable, and since I doubt Restoration Druids will be in cat form much even in Pandaria, Feline Swiftness is going to be our most logical selection.

Level 30: Healing based
Nature’s Swiftness: When activated, your next Cyclone, Entangling Roots, Healing Touch, Hibernate, Nourish, Rebirth, or Regrowth becomes instant, free and castable in all forms. The healing and duration of the spell is increased by 50%. (Instant, 3min CD)
Renewal: Instantly heals the druid for 30% of maximum health. Usable in all shapeshift forms. (Instant, 2min CD)
Cenarion Ward: Protects a friendly target, causing any damage taken to heal the target for 2660 every 2 sec for 6 sec. Gaining the healing effect consumes the Cenarion Ward. Usable in all shapeshift forms. Lasts 30 sec. (Instant, 40yd range, 30 sec CD)
All of these are interesting healing choices, so theorycrafting and play style will likely determine their fate.

Level 45: Crowd control
Mass Entanglement: Roots all enemies within 12 yards of the destination for 8 sec. Damage caused may interrupt the effect. Cannot be cast while in Bear Form or Cat Form. (2 sec cast, 30 yd range, 1 min CD)
Typhoon: Summons a violent Typhoon that strikes targets in front of the caster within 30 yards, knocking them back and dazing them for 6 sec. Usable in all shapeshift forms. (Instant, 20 sec CD)
From a Restoration perspective Faerie Swarm would have very little use unless you are hitting a mob, so that leaves 2 choices of which Mass Entanglement is likely to be the top pick for PvE use considering the usefulness of roots as a crowd control in dungeons.

Level 60: Shapeshifting (Class defining)
Wild Charge: Grants a movement ability that varies by shapeshift form.

Non-shapeshifted: Fly to an ally’s position and your next healing spell costs no mana.
Bear Form: Charge to an enemy, immobilizing them and granting you 30% haste.
Moonkin Form: Bound backward and gain 20 Lunar or Solar energy, whichever is more beneficial to you.

Incarnation: Activates a superior shapeshifting form appropriate to your specialization for 30 sec. (Instant, 3 min CD)

Feral: King of the Jungle. Improved cat form which allows the use of all abilities which normally require stealth, and allows the use of Prowl while in combat.
Restoration: Tree of Life. Tree of Life form that increases armor by 120% and enhances Lifebloom, Wild Growth, Regrowth, Entangling Roots, and Wrath spellcasts.

Force of Nature: Summons 3 treants to assist in the Druid’s current combat role. Treant capabilities vary by specialization. Usable in all shapeshift forms. (40 yd range, Instant, 3 min CD)
As class defining talents, these will probably be another tier in which theorycrafting and play style will likely determine their fate.

Level 75: Dealing with damage
Demoralizing Roar: The Druid roars, disorienting all enemies within 10 yards for 4 sec. Using this ability activates Bear Form. (Instant, 30 sec CD)
This tier contains very feral/bear centric talents in the form of Ursol’s Vortex and Bear Hug, so there wasn’t really a healing talent choice. as they stand now don’t provide a very good option for restoration druids, but Demoralizing Roar is the one I’d be most likely to select for those “get them off me moments”.

Level 90: Cooldowns
Disentanglement: Shapeshifting now removes roots. In addition, shifting into a form heals the Druid for 20% of maximum health. This heal cannot be received more often than once every 30 sec.
This tier doesn’t seem to have anything to support Resotration; Heart of the Wild and Master Shapeshifter in particular don’t have anything compelling for healing druids.

General Thoughts:
There are a couple of talents here that feel very out of place within a given tier, so I fully expect some changes to occur before this tree goes live. This is particularly true since they are switching up the specs for druids to include all four “specs”.

Paladin Level 90 Selected

Level 15: Mobility
Speed of Light: Increases your movement speed by 60% for 6 sec. During this time, you radiate healing to nearby allies.
Long Arm of the Law: A successful Judgement increases your movement speed by 45% for 4 sec.
Pursuit of Justice: You gain 10% movement speed for each current charge of Holy Power.
All of these provide a nice movement boost for Holy Paladins, but Speed of Light gives a bonus to healing as well.

Level 30: Crowd control
Fist of Justice: Stuns the target for 6 sec. (30 sec cooldown)
Repentance: Puts the enemy target in a state of meditation, incapacitating them for up to 1 min. Any damage from sources other than Censure will awaken the target. Usable against Demons, Dragonkin, Giants, Humanoids and Undead. (1.5 second cast)
This tier looks to contain more situational or PvP talents for Holy Paladins and Seal of Justice reads like it will require regular damage to get the most out of the talent.

Level 45: Dealing with damage
Blessed Life: You have a 100% chance to gain a charge of Holy Power whenever you take direct damage or are stunned, feared or immobilized. This effect cannot occur more than once every 8 seconds.
This is an interesting tier because both Sacred Shield and Ardent Defender are geared toward situations in which large amounts of damage are expected, leaving Holy Paladins choosing Blessed Life.

Level 60: Healing based
Selfless Healer: Your successful judgements reduce the mana cost of your next Flash of Light by 50% and improve its effectiveness by 50% when used to heal others. Stacks up to 2 times.
Eternal Glory: Your Word of Glory and Light of Dawn have a 30% chance not to consume Holy Power.
Holy Shield: Shields a friendly target, absorbing 1507 damage per charge of Holy Power for 10 sec (costs Holy Power).
This tier contains some real choices for Holy Paladins, but based on the incomplete nature of these talents I expect some tweaking in the future.

Level 75: Hand of the Paladin (Class defining)
Acts of Sacrifice: Reduces the cooldown by 20% and mana cost by 20% of your Hand of Freedom, Hand of Protection and Hand of Sacrifice. In addition, your Cleanse will remove one movement impairing effect if cast on yourself.
Clemency: When activated, immediately finishes the cooldown on your Hand of Freedom, Hand of Protection, and Hand of Sacrifice. (Instant, 5 min cooldown).
This tier focuses on the Paladin Hand spells and provide some much needed alternatives for that under used Hand of Salvation. However, I don’t see Veneration being widely used by Holy Paladins unless it’s an encounter specific need.

Level 90: Cooldowns
Holy Avenger: Summoning your Guardian of Ancient Kings also imbues you with the power of a Holy Avenger. Holy Avenger: none of your abilities consume Holy Power and cast as if 3 Holy Power were consumed. Lasts 10 sec.
Sanctified Wrath: You gain more frequent access to one of your abilities during Avenging Wrath.

Holy: Holy Shock has no cooldown.
Protection: Judgement has no cooldown.
Retribution: You can use Hammer of Wrath.

Divine Purpose: Abilities that cost Holy Power have a 15% chance to cause the Divine Purpose effect.
As Paladin “cooldown” talents go these will probably be the tier in which theorycrafting and play style will likely determine their fate.

General Thoughts:
Interestingly, the Paladin talent tree felt like I was getting a lot of choice in talents for a healer for most of the tiers. This talent tree feels like it is the most complete of the healing classes, so I predict that the Paladin talent tree will have the least amount of talent movement and redesign aside from basic tweaking of the talent values.

Priest Level 90 Selected

Level 15: Crowd control
Psychic Scream: The caster lets out a psychic scream, causing 5 enemies within 8 yards to flee for 8 sec. Damage caused may interrupt the effect. (Instant, 30 sec CD)
Void Tendrils and Psyfiend both seem very situational, if at all viable for healing priests in PvE settings, so I’ll probably stick with the tried and true. However, it does strike me as odd that one of the priest’s defining abilities is stuck as a talent.

Level 30: Mobility
Body and Soul: When you cast Power Word: Shield or Leap of Faith, you increase the target’s movement speed by 60% for 4 sec.
Path of the Devout: Increases your movement speed while Levitating by 25%.
Phantasm: Any time you Fade, you remove all movement impairing effects from yourself and your movement speed will be unhindered for 3 sec.
I’m excited to see the Holy talent Body and Soul accessible to Disc and Shadow priests, so that is a win for me at least. The other two talents look like interesting choices for all priests as well, so it will probably be left up to situational and play style choices.

Level 45: Dealing damage
From Darkness, Comes Light:

Surge of Light (Caster Form): You have a 6% chance when you Smite, Heal, Flash Heal, Binding Heal or Greater Heal to cause your next Flash Heal to be instant cast and have no mana cost.
Surge of Darkness (Shadowform): You have a 6% chance when you deal damage with Mind Flay to cause your next Mind Blast to be instant cast and have no Shadow Orb cost.

Divine Star: Fires a Divine Star in front of you, traveling 20 yards doing damage to all enemies and healing all friendly targets in its path. (Instant, 30 sec CD) After reaching its destination, it will return to you also dealing damage and healing all targets in its path.

Archangel (Caster Form): Consumes your Evangelism, increasing your healing done by 5% for each Evangelism consumed. (Instant, 30sec CD)
Dark Archangel (Shadowform): Consumes your Shadow Orbs increasing the damage done by your Mind Flay, Mind Spike, Mind Blast and Shadow Word: Death by 5% for each Shadow Orb consumed. (Instant, 90 sec CD)

Unfortunately, the stickler for me was seeing the loss of the mana regen aspect of Archangel. However, I like the idea of Divine Star and look forward to seeing how it plays.

Level 60: Healing based
Desperate Prayer: Instantly heals the caster for 30% of their total health (instant, 2min CD)
Angelic Bulwark: Increases the effectiveness of your own shield effects on yourself by 30%.
Final Prayer: Any time a damaging attack brings you below 30% health, you gain an absorption shield equal to 20% of your total health lasting for 20 sec. This effect cannot occur more than once every 90 sec.
It looks like our “healing based” category is all self-healing/mitigation based options, but I can’t say they won’t be compelling choices considering how useful Desperate Prayer is in Cataclysm content.

Level 75: Mana Infusion (Class defining)
Twist of Fate: Increases damage and healing done to targets at or below 25% health.
Power Infusion: Infuses the target with power, increasing spell casting speed by 20% and reducing the mana cost of all spells by 20%. Lasts 15 sec. (Instant, 2 min CD)
Serendipity: When you heal with Binding Heal or Flash Heal, the cast time of your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing spell is reduced by 20% and mana cost is reduced by 10%. Stracks up to 2 times. Lasts 10 sec. Mind Melt (Shadowform): When you real damage with Mind Spike, the cast time of your next Mind Blast is reduced by 50% lasting 6 sec. Mind Melt can stack up to 2 times.
The Mind Melt component of Serendipity feels tacked on to appease Shadow priests so I fully expect more tweaking of the talents in this tier.

Level 90: Cooldowns
Vow of Unity: You create a Vow of Unity with the friendly target. Whenever you heal the target through spells and effects, you are also healed equal to 20% of the amount. In addition, when the target is attacked, 50% of the damage is redirected to you over 6 sec. If your target is victim to an attack greater than 30% of their total health, the Vow of Unity effect ends. (Instant, 3min CD)
Void Shift: You swap health percentage with the current friendly target. After this effect ends, you are instantly healed for 25% of your total health. (instant, 3min CD)
Vampiric Dominance: When you real damage or healing 15% of the amount is healed to up to 3 low-health nearby allies.
This tier will give priests some really interesting choices for healing and damage, so I expect theorycrafting and play style will likely determine their fate.

General Thoughts:
Priests are a unique class to work with because they have two distinct healing specs, so the talent tiers are heavily tipped in that direction. However, I predict that the higher level talents will get some rework in the future to balance the healing with the class defining talent tiers.

Shaman Level 90 Selected

Level 15: Crowd control
Earthgrab Totem: Summons an Earthgrab Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 45 sec. The totem pulses every second, rooting all enemies within 8 yards for 5 sec. Recently rooted enemies will instead have their movement speed reduced by 50%. (Replaces Earthbind Totem)
Repulsion Totem: Summons an Air totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 15 sec that repels enemies.
The talent Frozen Power seems very situational for Restoration to be using, especially with more obviously useful options available.

Level 30: Dealing with damage
Nature’s Guardian: Whenever a damaging attack brings you below 30% health, your maximum health is increased by 15% for 10 sec and your threat level toward the attacker is reduced. 30 sec CD.
Stone Bulwark Totem: Summons an Earth totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 30 sec that grants the caster a shield absorbing 2549 damage and refreshes that shield ever 5 sec (1 min CD)
Astral Shift: Seek haven by shifting partially into the elemental planes, reducing damage taken by 50% but also all damage and healing dealt by 50% for 6 sec. (2 min CD)
A potential self-healing cooldown for Restoration Shamans is included in this tier, which considering my comments in the healing based category, I suspect there will be some talent swapping before these go live.

Level 45: Mobility
Windwalk Totem: Summons an Air totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 6 sec, granting raid members within 30 yards immunity to movement-impairing effects. (1 min CD)
Tranquil Mind Totem: Summons an Air Totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 6 sec, granting raid members within 30 yards immunity to spellcast interruptions and silence effects.
Improved Ghost Wolf will probably be a more PvP selection talent, but the other two options in this tier suggest that Restoration Shamans will have some interesting choices to make in their talent selection.

Level 60: Healing based
Healing Tide Totem: Summons a Water totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 10 sec, healing the 5 most injured raid members within 40 yards for 1060 health every 2 sec. (3 min CD)
Ancestral Guidance: When you deal direct damage or healing for the next 10 seconds, 40% of that amount is copied as healing to a nearby injured ally. (3 min CD)
Fortifying Waters: Allies standing within your Healing Raid receive a 10% reduction to incoming magic damage.
Some really interesting choices available to Restoration Shamans, although Fortifying Waters feels more like a “Dealing with damage” ability, so I expect some shifting around to occur before the talent trees go live.

Level 75: Cooldowns
Nature’s Swiftness: Passively increases spell and melee haste by 5%. When activated, your next Nature spell with a base casting time of less than 10 sec becomes an instant cast spell (1 min CD)
Echo of the Elements: When you cast a damage or healing spell, you have a chance to gain Echo of the Elements, duplicating that spell’s effect.
This tier will be the source of our old old healing cooldown and Echo of the Elements which has some very exciting potential, but also Elemental Mastery which isn’t really a compelling choice when balanced against the other two options.

Level 90: Totemic harmony (Class defining)
Elemental Harmony: You may summon multiple totems of the same element simultaneously.
Totemic Restoration: If a totem is replaced or destroyed before its duration expires naturally, its cooldown is reduced in proportion to the lost duration.
Totemic Projection: Relocates your active totems to the specified location. (10 sec CD)
Some really interesting and new options for Shamans and I for one am looking forward to how Elemental Harmony will play out, especially for healing cooldown totems (e.g., Mana Tide).

General Thoughts:
Since Blizzard has indicated a distinct and long overdue change to how Shaman totems are used, the talent tree definitely reflects these changes. Categorizing tiers of very totem centric talents, which are a class defining concept was a lot harder to accomplish even than the unique perspective that priest talents contained.

Special mention to MMO Melting Pot for providing the talents in text form for me to use in my post.

Happy Healing!


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