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.

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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.

My UI. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

Spring is here, and you know what that means? Spring cleaning! No, not of my house, silly. Of my UI and addons.

Two things brought on the remodel/cleanup. One was the Healer’s UI article in the World of Warcraft Magazine, and the other was the fact that some of my FuBar addons weren’t working properly, probably because FuBar is no longer being developed or supported.

So here’s my revamped UI, starting at the top left corner and moving clockwise around the screen:

Bazooka: The bar across the very top is Bazooka, my FuBar replacement. Actually, it seems easier to deal with than FuBar, so I’m happy with it thus far. From here I have easy access to most of my other addons, including Reagent Restocker, Bartender, Omen, Bagnon, etc. Bazooka also displays my durability, gold, friends list, and which spec I’m in.

VuhDo: This is the colorful grid in the upper center of my screen.

Most of the boxes are the class colors of the players in my raid, but they change colors in certain cases, like if they have a magical debuff I could remove. Icons on the little boxes indicate a variety of things: the HoTs my druid co-healer has on the raid; my Prayer of Mending,  currently on the DK; and Divine Aegis and Weakened Soul on our pally tank. The DK also has a Renew on him, indicated by the green bar on that box, while the blue bar on the tank shows that he has Grace. The column of blue boxes next to the raid panels are the pets. Yes, I heal pets from time to time.

SexyMap: In the corner is my SexyMap. Sexy, no? I like the clean look, and I like the way it handles the minimap buttons, which I have set to show only on mouseover. Most of the buttons that used to be on my minimap are now on my Bazooka bar anyway, and SexyMap makes it easy to hide them. It also plays nicely with all my other addons, so I like that.

VuhDo, again: Below my minimap you can see VuhDo’s buffminder. This helps me track buffs on me and my party or raid members. Fortitude, Divine Spirit, Shadow Protection, and Inner Fire: everyone’s looking good! If one or more raid members are missing buffs, the buffminder turns red; if they’re just running out of time or charges, it’s yellow. I just click to rebuff. It’s smart, so it uses my individual buffs if only one or two people are missing the buffs. but it uses the group buffs if more than two are buffless.

Omen: I have the Omen Threat Meter open in the lower right-hand corner.

Bartender 4: At the very bottom, you see action bars I’ve set up with Bartender 4.  I like the smaller, uncluttered look of the action bars. I also like the fact that you can hide bars under certain circumstances; for instance, I have one bar set up with professions, hearthstone, my mount macro–all the stuff I use frequently that can’t be used during combat. So it hides during combat, of course! I’ve set up my reputation bar at the very bottom so I can see where I am in grinding Ashen Verdict rep. You don’t see many healing spells because I have those all set up to mouse clicks with VuhDo, so I just don’t need them on my action bars.

Power Auras:  in the center, you see a glowing aura around me and a bright little halo above my head. This is Power Auras, which I really love. It can show buffs, debuffs, cooldowns … it has so many uses, I’ve barely scratched the surface myself. The aura around me here lets me know that Penance is off cooldown and is ready for use. The one above my head lets me know that my Talisman of Resurgence has procced, so I have the Hospitality buff, increasing my spellpower.

Other addons I use, which don’t necessarily show up in my UI:

AchievementSnap: Takes a screenshot whenever I get an achievement. I installed it just recently so I would have a screenshot when Ginnger hit 80.

Ackis Recipe List: Tells me what recipes I’m missing for my professions and where to get them.

Bagnon: All-in-one bag, with a search function; tracks alt inventory and bank so I can see what I have where. I can even look at my bank without being at the bank, which is awesome.

Deadly Boss Mods, Recount: C’mon, you know what these do. I keep meaning to give Skada a try for dps/healing meters. Also, my raid team uses the Ni Karma system, so I also have that addon for tracking karma and managing rolls.

DualSpecDespammer: Hides all that “ability learned” spam when I change specs.

Gatherer, GatherMate, and Routes: Sets up routes to cover all the gathering nodes in a zone. Sindei doesn’t do any gathering professions, but I do use Routes on both Ginnger and Marsha.

Livestock: helps manage my mounts and companion pets. Set it to random, set a favorite, assign certain mounts to certain zones, take some mounts or pets out of circulation altogether. I’ve been trying some other addons for this recently, because Livestock doesn’t handle the XR3 Touring Rocket mount properly, but I really haven’t liked any of them that well. I just hope the Livestock developer will fix the issue soon.

Mapster: A simple map addon with coordinates, instance maps you can access anywhere, and a few other features.

NeonChat: just handy and fun and reminds me what channel I’m typing in. “Prettiness rules OK!”

Outfitter: Sets up outfits for different needs: Discipline, Holy, Shadow, Fishing, Naked Mailbox Dancing….

Prat: a chat mod I picked up recently. I like it, but I wish the memory footprint was a little smaller. I’m not yet convinced it’s the right solution, but it’s highly configurable, and I like a lot of what it does. I’m positively addicted to having private channels be sticky.

Reagent Restocker: Auto-sells gray items, auto-buys shopping list items (Devout Candles, Honeymint Tea, etc.).

Warcraft Instant Messenger (WIM): Instant messenger for Warcraft. Breaks /tells out into their own windows for easier tracking of conversations. No more embarrassing mistells! I understand some of WIM’s functionality will be coming to the game’s native UI in patch 3.3.5.



As I posted last week, I’ve been pretty focused lately on getting Ginnger up to 80.

I’m not a person who has typically had a lot of alts. I mean, I do have alts, but they tend to be lower level alts that I rolled when I was bored. I just goof around on them for a while, then I tend to abandon them around level 20 or so, though a couple made it to the early 40s.

Sindei was one of those alts, languishing at level 24 for ages. Once I picked her back up and got her to 80, she became my new main. I like Ginnger plenty, but have no plans to abandon Sindei. I enjoy shaman healing, but I find that my priest just has more tools and I still love healing with her. Maybe I’m at the point where I just have two mains.

That said, Sindei does see considerably less action these days. She’s already well-geared, but Ginnger has jewelcrafting dailies, rep to grind, and gear to gather. Ginnger’s dailies have taken priority: if I can only do one thing a day online, it’s the jewelcrafting daily. If I have time to run a random, it’s on Ginnger first. Of course, most days I have time to do a lot more than a couple of dailies, but I usually try to do those things first, just in case. Even Sindei’s daily randoms–which I used to log in for religiously — have taken a lower priority. For one thing, I am getting Emblems of Frost from ICC, so I don’t have to rely on just the daily. Besides, she has the T10 2-piece bonus and I’m n0t in such a rush to drop the T9 2-piece bonus, since I like it better than the T10 4-piece.

I love raiding on Sindei, and I love having the haste and the throughput to handle difficult healing situations (usually). But I’m also having a great time running heroics on Ginnger. Not only does Ginnger still need gear, she’s made heroics fun again. I thought I was sick of running heroics. It turns out I was just sick of sleeping through heroics on Sindei. So while I still think of Sindei as my main, and I’ll keep playing and raiding with her, it’s fun to be gearing up a second main. And I should think two mains would be plenty.

Though I did just buy the leather caster heirlooms and an heirloom staff for my level 43 druid….

When last we left our heroes, Sindei had helped to conquer Yogg-Saron, and Ginnger was level 70 and had gone back in Azeroth to level mining and jewelcrafting.

Our raid team is progressing nicely through ICC. We had a little trouble with Saurfang at the end of the Lower Spire, maybe  because we were three-healing the encounter to be safe. As soon as we tried two-healing it, we won the dps race and got Saurfang down. On Friday night we spent some time in the Plague Wing. Festergut didn’t give us too much trouble, but just to be a jerk, he dropped druid healing gear on a night when our druid healer was uncharacteristically absent. Rotface, on the other hand, proved a little more of a problem. I look forward to three-healing that encounter next week, because I think a third healer would help us out on it.There’s an awful lot of damage flying around in there!

In the meantime, to break things up, our team likes to do an off-night activity every other week. I took a poll of our team, and despite my efforts to institute bi-weekly Celestial Steed Parades through Dalaran, it seems everyone else wants to work on Trial of the Grand Champion instead. So we’ll take a swing at that on Tuesday.

After a lot of mining and a lot of spending gold at the Auction House, Ginnger’s mining and jewelcrafting are both leveled up to a reasonable skill for her level. Mining is at 440-ish and jewelcrafting at 430 or so. So at least she can mine where she’s leveling and get the JC daily done every day. I try to get her daily random dungeon done every day, though if push comes to shove, Sindei’s takes precedence. I got Ginnger to 74 last night, so she’ll be questing in Zul’Drak for a little while.

And I don’t want to forget about Children’s Week! Sindei wasn’t my main at this time last year, so she hadn’t done any of this achievement. I grabbed her a couple of orphans from Orgrimmar and Shattrath — sadly, the Dalaran quest seems to be bugged for anyone who did it when it was first released. Everything in the For the Children achievement is pretty easy, with the glaring exception of The School of Hard Knocks. Lucky for me, Day 1 of Children’s Week seems to be an unofficial interfaction cooperation day. Of the four battleground achievements needed, I was able to get three in battlegrounds where Alliance and Horde players worked together to get each other the needed achievements. I’m always glad to see people work together for a common goal. My one “real” achievement was capping the flag in Eye of the Storm, just moments before we were soundly defeated.

After wrapping up Hail to the King, Baby tonight, Sindei is proudly wearing her Matron title and is one step closer to her Violet Proto-Drake. I’m not sure how much of Children’s Week I’ll do with Ginnger, though I did pick up the Children’s Week quest in Dalaran for her. I generally side with the Oracles, but just to try something different this year, Ginnger has a little Wolvar companion in tow.

Woot!

My raid team finally got Yogg-Saron down. This had been a bit of a sticking point for us. The initial plan had been to clear Ulduar completely before moving on to Icecrown Citadel. But power outages, screwed up raid lockouts, and scheduling issues frustrated our efforts, and when we could get in to fight Yogg, we found the fight coordination a little troublesome. Last night, we worked it all out and got Yogg down for the first time. Woot!

Of course, we didn’t wait to get Yogg down before we entered ICC, because at some point, it just seemed silly to let this one clusterfluffle of a fight stall out all our progession. Still, it’s nice to have it cleared and feel like there’s no unfinished business. We can really focus on ICC “with a clear conscience,” as our main tank said.

As for Ginnger, she’s now at level 70 and living at Vengeance Landing. I’m running her daily random to save up emblems for when she gets to 80, and doing some questing, of course. But her leveling has been slowed down by my decision to change her profession.

I’d been leveling skinning and leatherworking, because skinning is leveled so naturally while you’re questing, and I could make some decent mail gear with leatherworking while she leveled. On further reflection, however, I decided mining and jewelcrafting would be a much better way to go. It’s something that will benefit all my toons, unlike leatherworking. My rogue is an herbalist/alchemist, so I’ve got that synergy working for me. So now Ginnger has gone back to Azeroth to level mining in between random instance runs. I hate having to go back and do that, but better now than at level 80.