So as some of you may know, it is once again that time pre expansion that Blizzard begins to wet our appetite for the upcoming expansion with the announcements of upcoming class changes. I will be highlighting the changes that will be coming for priests, which can be viewed from the main Blizzard post here.
First off there is way too much stuff to fully break down in one short post, so I will try and keep it short and simple. My priest has always been my main. From vanilla WoW through currently in ICC, I have also played every spec, so I know the effect these changes will have first hand.
New Spells - I am going to avoid what these actual spells do, because I would just be copying and pasting from Blizzard. However I will be focusing on how this will affect the current game play as a priest.
Heal - Since this spell will scale up to 85, priests not have three cast-able heals. Flash Heal, Heal, and Greater Heal. This will fill that small gap where Greater Heal is too powerful and will waste mana, but you would need two Flash Heals to top off the target, which also will be a waste of mana. It is a nice addition, but I really cannot know how useful it will be.
Inner Will - It may be useful for PvP. The ability to move quicker and use instant casts quicker will be very nice. For those PvPers out there, with this you may be able to out run people trying to kill you and be able to use your instant casts continuously. From a PvE view, this will be pretty useless.
Mind Spike - The goal of this spell is to close the gap in shadow dps ramp up time. Currently if a shadow priest switches to an add they take a bit of time until they can do decent damage. An example of this would be the blood beasts on Deathbringer Saurfang, where by the time a priest casts Shadow Word: Pain then Mind Flay, the target is dead. This spell will serve as a quick damage on the target so you do not need to spend a lot of ramp up time. It will be awesome for fights like DBS and Lord Marrowgar where quick burst dps is needed on an add.
Leap of Faith - Currently in the game I do not see any reason for this spell. PvP wise this may be nice to pull people away if they are about to die to allow more time for them to be healed. PvE, I really can’’t see a use. It may be useful to pull people out of a void zone, but it shouldn't be the priests job to babysit the bad players in a raid. Maybe to pull the melee dps from one target to another for less down time, in something like Blood Prince fight?
Overall, nothing here really excites me. Mind Spike makes shadow better suited for both PvE and PvP, but other then that no new spell will drastically change the current priest play style.
Talent / Spec Changes - With these there was quite a bit of big information. So I will hit on the major things for each spec.
Discipline - There were two big things revolving shields. First is Power Word: Barrier finally! This will be the aoe shield we have always wanted. Secondly is the talk of a larger shield. This would be very nice because we could toss he larger shield on the tank taking the big hits, then save the smaller Power Word: Shields for anyone in the group.
Holy - They said they were wanted to make Holy a better well rounded spec, which is great. So they are going to try and go about this by putting us into a different healing state based on what we cast. Here is an example: We cast three Greater Heals in a row on our main tank, we then enter a "Tank Healing" state so our Greater Heals will get better but our aoe heals will become weaker. The same for the other way, if we cast three Prayer of Healing or Circle of Healing in a row, we enter an aoe heal state. In which our aoe heals become better but our tank heals become weaker. This will be great for holy priests because they can once again be at the top of all healers. We will be able to go into a raid and heal the tank a few fights, then aoe heal a few fights. Currently tank healers are Discipline and aoe healing priests are Holy, this should change things up.
Shadow - The big thing is the introduction of Shadow Orbs apart of the new Mastery system. Basically you have a chance to generate an orb while doing damage, and then you will be able to consume an orb for a special effect, such as an increase in damage or an instant cast. There is a lot they can do with this so we will just have to see where it goes, should be quite neat. Another thing noted is they want to make Shadow Word: Death something like Execute, so the damage is increased when the target is below 25%. Will be interesting to see if they lower the cool down if they do this.
Note: All of these things can (and a good chance they will) change. Cataclysm is still quite a ways off and through both Alpha and Beta testing we will sure see a change in a lot of these things.