You’ve gotta love Beta season. You get all worked up about, oh, let’s say, a talent tree preview. But much QQ ensues! And then Blizzard changes everything.

One of the more common comments about the new trees was that they did not live up to Blizzcon promises. Blizzard said they were going to do away with passive required talents, like straight-up damage and healing buffs, but the preview trees were still full of them. I think that was a fair assessment. So Blizz shifted gears, and the changes will be introduced in a Beta build coming soon.

In brief:

  • Talent trees will get shorter. A lot shorter.
  • You’ll pick your spec at level 10 and be locked out of the other trees until you have spent at least 31 points in your chosen tree.
  • You’ll get a signature ability early: Penance for baby disc priests. Earth Shield for baby resto shamans.
  • Mastery bonuses — originally planned to scale according to how many points you spent in a given tree — will be granted when you pick a tree and will be a percentage that scales with your level. Er, the passive mastery bonuses anyway (such as Meditation, which all priests get). The unique Mastery bonuses (like shadow orbs for shadow priests and better shields for disc) will come as a trainable passive skill at 75 and will scale up as you acquire gear with the Mastery stat on it. At least that’s how I understood it.

Naturally, this all means that the world will likely end soon. No, really! Just check the official forums if you don’t believe me!

I think the changes sound intriguing. I’m not sure I like being locked out of the other two trees until level 40, but I’m keeping an open mind for now. Haters gonna hate and all, but personally, what I really want Blizzard to do is to keep the game interesting. I’m eager to hear how the changes are received once they hit Beta.

Advertisements
This week’s Blog Azeroth Shared Topic was suggested by Spinks of Spinksville: Cataclysm is coming! The old world is going to be destroyed and remade.

Which town, quest, NPC, or zone really needs to be purged with fire, in your opinion? Will you enjoy dancing on the ashes of a particularly hated quest giver? Or is there some zone you avoid like the plague (Plaguelands excluded) where being nuked from orbit could only improve the experience? And why do you hate it/them so much?

What needs to die in a fire in Cataclysm? I’m not generally very big on complaining about the game. This is Blizzard’s world, and I usually think they are trying to do their best by its denizens. Will of the Forsaken nerf? It was overpowered! Change to the talent tree? Blizz is just trying to keep the playing field even. That said, I’m not a total fangirl. There are a few things that can go right ahead and die in Deathwing’s fire.

The shaman water totem quest: I suppose this quest could be viewed as a rite of passage. Want to be a shaman? You must suffer, grasshopper! Running all over the Barrens, Tarren Mill, Ashenvale and Silverpine–at level 20? And I had a mount when I did it! I shudder to think about doing it back when we didn’t get our mounts until 40. The consolation doesn’t come until you do your Air Totem quest, when you go to the questgiver and he just hands it to you. After all, you’ve been through enough.

Malygos: Can you hear the tears I cry when you are the weekly raid quest, Malygos? I hate you so much that I would actually skip the weekly if I didn’t have raiders who wanted the frost badges. For them, I go. I hate your 3-D space that I find so challenging to navigate. I hate the vehicle mechanic introduced in the third phase, so that if the raid doesn’t understand it and wipes, they have to start the whole damn thing over again. I hate the fact that we get a weekly raid quest that there’s a key for, so if no one present has the key, we have to do a separate boss in a separate instance to get the key. I know, we can port right to Sapphiron now. And I know, the fight’s not that hard anymore. I just think it’s unnecessary.

Azshara: Surely I am not alone in this. I avoid this zone at all costs. It’s too bad, because Azshara could be cool. The scenery is lovely. I like the hippogryphs and the dragonkin and hey — who doesn’t love to kill some naga? What I hate about this zone is how difficult it is to navigate. There’s no road system whatsoever. There are mountains blocking you at every turn. You fall off a cliff and never find your way back up.  There’s no inn; just some NPCs hanging out at a hardscrabble little camp without even a proper tent. I’m normally quite an environmentalist, but jeez! Let the goblins have at it with this place!

The idiot selling flasks in the auction house at a loss: I actually have no problem with healthy competition. If you’ve undercut me by 5g, well… fair play. But seriously, I was making a decent profit on flasks – nothing exorbitant, just a healthy little return on my investment. Then you come along and start selling below cost. Obviously Blizzard can’t do anything about this, but dude! You’re killing me! Knock it off, will you?

I sat down this morning to poke around at a Holy build, but since Holy is my offspec, I won’t drag you through a whole build the way I did with Discipline. Instead what I want to talk about is some of the new talents in Holy, and a few of the changes to the healing trees overall.

A number of spells have changed tiers, but I’m more interested in spells that have gone missing. Holy Specialization is gone, as I mentioned before, so your crit rating will be your crit rating. I enjoyed that extra five percent on my holy spells (i.e., everything I cared about), but no use crying over spilled crit.

Also gone:

Improved Power Word: Fortitude: Two points, Disc; increase the effect of Power Word: Fortitude by 30% and increase your stamina by 4%.

Meditation: Three points, Disc; increases your mana regen while casting by 50%.

Silent Resolve: Three points, Disc; reduces the threat of Holy and Discipline spells and and decreases the chance of your DoTs and healing spells to be dispelled.

Absolution: Three points, Disc; reduces the mana cost of Dispel, Mass Dispel, Cure Disease, and Abolish Disease.

Mental Strength: Three points, Disc; increases your Intellect by 15%.

Spiritual Guidance: Five points, Holy; increases your Spellpower by 25% of your spirit.

Spiritual Healing: Five points, Holy; increases your heals by 10%.

I’m bummed out about Improved Power Word: Fortitude and really bummed out about Meditation. I like not having to worry about my mana, but I know the devs want us to worry a little more about it. I get why, but I don’t have to like it. I’ll miss Mental Strength, Spiritual Guidance, and Spiritual Healing, but so it goes. Those straight-up buffs are exactly the sort of thing Blizz said they were going to get rid of. I never took Silent Resolve or Absolution, so I won’t miss them at all.

We’ve already talked about new talents in the Discipline tree, as well as Divine Accuracy and Deliverance (formerly Serendipity) in the Holy Tree, but there are other new talents in Holy as well:

Choir Leader: Two points; your Divine Hymn heals you for 10/20% of your total health during its duration, and the channeling time of your Hymn of Hope is reduced by 20%.

Improved Holy Nova: Two points; reduces global cooldown on Holy Nova by .25/.5 seconds and increases its chance to crit by 25/50%.

Chakra: Five points; When you use your Prayer of Healing, Renew, or Heal three times in a row, puts you in one of three Chakra states;

  • PoH: Increases your AOE healing by 10% and reduces the cooldown on Circle of Healing by 2.5 seconds
  • Renew: Increases the haste on Renew by 15% and reduces the global cooldown of Renew by .5 seconds
  • Heal: Increases the crit chance of your Heal by 5% and your Heal has a 100% chance of refreshing your Renew on the target
  • Smite: Increases the total damage done by your holy and shadow spells by 15%. (Smite is only mentioned in the second part of the tooltip)

I love Choir Leader.  I’m always nervous about the time I’m not healing when I need to use Hymn of Hope. I doubt I’d take Improved Holy Nova; maybe for AOE damage when soloing dailies or whatnot? The Chakra mechanic sounds like a lot of fun, and I think it will be really interesting to play with. It also sounds like it has some potential for being a pain in the neck, too, but I like that they are trying to make things more interesting.

As much as I’m sorry to see “required” talents like Meditation go, I do like how it opens up choices in the tree. Of course, the extra five talent points don’t hurt either, but it seems like there are really a lot of points to play with. So I don’t have to forgo anything important to me in order to take Body and Soul, for example. I can now grab Improved Power Word: Shield for a Holy Build.

The last two posts are really just my first takes on the new trees. For a complete listing of what exactly has been removed, added, changed or moved in the trees, check out Wowhead’s Priest Cataclysm Changes.

A real preview of a Disc Talent Tree this time

Not too long ago, I had some fun fooling around with leaked Cataclysm priest talents. But do you know what’s even more fun? Playing around with talents that Blizzard has actually released!

Actually, there seems to be a number of new damage buffs in both the Disc and Holy trees, which is interesting. Let’s go over my first swing at a Discipline build, shall we?

Tier 1 doesn’t look so different, and I keep what I currently have here: 5 points in Twin Disciplines.

In Tier 2, we have newcomer Penitence, which gives an increased crit chance for Smite and Penance.  I’m not too interested in Martyrdom or Focused Power (which decreases cast time on Mind Control and Mass Dispel), and after taking 3 points in Improved Inner Fire, I still need two points to get me to the next tier, so Penitence it is. I don’t much care about the improved crit on Smite, but who doesn’t like to see Penance crit?

Tier 3, now with more Smite in the form of Atonement: when you deal Smite damage, you get an instant heal on a nearby friendly, low health target. Three points in Improved Power Word: Shield and a point in Inner Focus leave me a point shy of the next tier, so Atonement it is. It’s beginning to look like Blizz wants me to do some damage.

Tier 4 has Improved Mana Burn, which I’m not interested in, and Mental Agility, which I am. That leaves Evangelism, which gives you a buff to Smite, Holy Nova, Holy Fire, and Penance when you cast… guess what? SMITE! Anyone else seeing a theme here? I take three points in Mental Agility, and then another two in Evangelism to get to the next tier.

Tier 5 brings us the much-awaited Power Word: Barrier, Enlightenment, and Archangel, which consumes Evangelism to restore mana and let you cast Penance on the fly. YES!

In Tier 6, Soul Warding is now three points, as alluded to in the leak. I take all three, naturally, but this leaves me two points shy of the next tier. I look back to see if there’s some Smite-related talent I’m supposed to take, and sure enough, I haven’t maxed out Atonement or Penitence. I take one more point in each.

Nothing new to see here in Tier 7: Divine Aegis, Power Infusion, and Improved Flash Heal. Same story in Tier 8: Renewed Hope, Aspiration, and Rapture.

For Tier 8, I take Pain Suppression and Grace, which now just two points. Five points in Borrowed Time in Tier 9 and a point in Penance for Tier 10 rounds out the Disc tree for this build.

Over in the Holy tree, I’ll start with five points in Divine Fury for reduced time on Greater Heal, which I seldom use; Heal, which is allegedly our new go-to heal; and Smite, which Blizzard clearly intends for me to use. As noted previously, Holy Specialization is gone.

In Tier 2, of course I’ll take Empowered Healing to buff Greater Heal, Flash Heal, Binding Heal, and the new go-to, Heal. The new talent in this tier is Divine Accuracy, which improves the chance to hit on Smite, Penance, Holy Fire, and Holy Nova. Accuracy might be nice if you’re going to also solo your dailies in this build, and may be a nice boost for all the Smite talents introduced in the Disc tree. But I’ll skip it for now, as well as Spell Warding.

I will, however, take everything in Tier 3: Desperate Prayer, Improved Renew, and Inspiration.

Tier 4 offers Improved Healing, Healing Prayers and Blessed Recovery. I’ll skip Blessed Recovery, since it requires at least one point in Spell Warding, which I didn’t take. It’s for PvP anyway, so I don’t want it. I’ll max out Improved Healing — moar buffs! — and take two points in Healing Prayers to reduce the cost of Prayer of Mending and Prayer of Healing.

Tier 5 gives me a couple of options I could take instead of Healing Prayers. I could take Holy Reach here to increase the range of my Holy Nova, Divine Hymn, and Prayer of Healing. But despite my recent threats to heal exclusively with Holy Nova, these really aren’t spells I use that much. Deliverance (the spell formerly known as Serendipity) could come in handy, and I could put points here to speed up Greater Heal enough to make it really useful. A Greater Heal cast with Deliverance and a Borrowed Time buff? That could be one big, fast heal!

My final point in this build will also be in Tier 5: Spirit of Redemption. I’m super excited to get this talent for Disc. First of all, spirit is actually going to be useful for Discipline priests come Cataclysm, so the buff will be great. Plus we’re losing the Divine Spirit buff, so maybe this will help out. Of course, what I’m most excited about is getting to turn into a Giant Angel of Free Haelz, valiantly saving the raid before finally accepting my battle rez. Not that I ever die in raid. I don’t care what the druids on my team told you!

Stay tuned for my try at a Holy build. I hear we’re going to have to take Lightwell.

It’s clear that Blizzard loves me because the four talent previews they released today happen to be the only four classes I really care about: priest, shaman, druid, and even one for my poor abandoned rogue! Sweet!

A more detailed post about the Priest talent trees will be forthcoming, but I was just so darned excited about this news, I had to post a little something. Seriously, I cannot wait to play with these.

Play with the talent trees at Wowhead, or head to WoW.com for a talent rundown.

OK, it’s not really breaking… we heard about this yesterday. I’m not the first on my block to blog about this. Still, the blogoverse is all abuzz with the latest Cataclysm announcements regarding raid lockout changes.

I’m sure you’ve read the details elsewhere, but to recap:

  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids will share the same lockout.
  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids difficulty will be as close as possible to each other.
  • 10-Man and 25-Man raids will drop the exact same loot, but 25-man will drop a higher quantity of items.
  • Normal versus Heroic mode will be chosen on a per-boss basis in Cataclysm raids, the same way it works in Icecrown Citadel
  • For the first few raid tiers, our plan is to provide multiple smaller raids. Instead of one raid with eleven bosses, you might have a five-boss raid as well as a six-boss raid.

10-Man and 25-Man raids will drop the exact same loot, but 25-man will drop a higher quantity of items. HOORAY! Does this mean my raiders don’t have to feel like second-class citizens anymore? Because I think that sounds awesome. I’ve done 25-man raiding and 10-man raiding. While I agree that 25s are more difficult to organize, I don’t think the fights themselves are necessarily more difficult. True, there’s often more going on, and more people means more opportunity for mistakes. But it also has more room for mistakes than a 10-man. When I was raiding 25s on my rogue, if I wound up tanking the floor, it wasn’t the end of the world. In our 10 -man team, the fights are less forgiving and each member is crucial. A lost dps or two can mean a wipe. So it’s been frustrating that if my raid team wants the really good gear, we have to pug 25s.

As for the higher quantity of items dropping for 25s, I’m OK with that. They have more people to organize, so give each of them a somewhat better chance at the loot that drops. Extra badges points (see below), extra gold, extra loot? Fine. I’m just pleased that I’ll finally have a chance at the same quality of gear that 25-man raiders enjoy.

10-Man and 25-Man raids will share the same lockout. I’m less sure exactly how I feel about this. Mostly, it won’t affect me personally, since I run 10-man raids. I’m geared well enough to run 25s, so I could pick one up from time to time, but I just don’t. I’m too spoiled, I think, by my own raid team. We’ve built a close-knit team that’s friendly and relaxed, and while we naturally can become frustrated when we’re learning something new and wiping a lot, it’s never the kind of stress and infighting I’ve seen happen in 25-man teams.

On the other hand, we have used 25-man raids to do weekly raid quests when we were saving our 10-man ID to work on a tough boss (Yogg-Saron, I’m looking at you!). That’s a special circumstance, though, and not too important. And while it was nice to know that I could pick up a 25 if I wanted to, if the loot’s the same, the motivation for doing two versions of the same raid is certainly diminished. At any rate, the more I think about this change, the more OK I am with it. I know a lot of 25-man raiders are screaming about it, and I know some people are predicting that it means the end of 25-man raiding. I think people who want to raid 25s will still do so, but even if it does mean the death of the 25, honestly, I’m just not sure I care.

Goblin LFW!

As for the rest of the news — the similarity in difficulty, the Normal vs. Heroic, and smaller raids — that all sounds good to me. So does the other bit of news released last night: Emblems will be replaced with Valor points and Hero Points. So we get points instead of emblems, and they will be downgraded (Valor >> Hero) as new tiers are released. Much simpler, and I’m totally fine with it.They’ll be capped, and I wonder what the cap will be like, but since I spend my highest tier emblems as soon as I can afford something, I’m not very concerned. I do wonder about the future of that money changer in the Underbelly, but she’s a goblin, after all. I’m sure she’ll find some way to turn a copper.

So I was trying to figure out what my next post would be about, when BAM! Blizz to the rescue with the Cataclysm priest changes. Thanks, Zarhym!

  • Heal (available at level 16): Yeah, like most priests, I never ever ever use Heal or Lesser Heal. Heck, I forgot they even existed! I get the idea that this revamped Heal is intended to replace Flash Heal in my typical rotations.
  • Mind Spike (available at 81): My first new level in Cataclysm, and I get a dps spell? Sigh. Shadow DID need an instant nuke, which is what this sounds like. It’ll be available to all specs, so helpful for those times I need to DPS. Fine.
  • Inner Will (available at 83): Buff to run speed and cheaper instant casts? Yes please! I’m sure Inner Fire will still be used most of the time, but this certainly will be handy in some fights.
  • Leap of Faith (available at 85): The ability to grab players out of danger? Sweet! I’m not so sure I’ll be grabbing you if you have aggro, as I’m not interested in meeting your new little mob friend. I may grab you out of the fire … if I like you and if you don’t deserve to die of your own stupidity, that is.
  • Discipline Talent: Power Word: Barrier. Oh, Power Word: Barrier, how I have dreamed of you! Instead of spamming bubbles one-by-one, I long to shield an entire group! Made of win.
  • Divine Spirit and Prayer of Spirit: GONE! I’ll miss the spirit buff, but my Devout Candle budget just got more manageable.

The other thing that seemed big to me is mana. To quote Zarhym:

Mana will be a bigger consideration for all healers. We aren’t trying to make healing more painful; we’re trying to make it more fun.

ORLY? Because I’m pretty sure when Blue says: “We aren’t trying to make healing more painful,” it means: “Healing is about to get painful!”