Sunday, January 16, 2011

Patch 4.0.6 - Wait, there was more

As soon as I get around to posting a post on the patch notes, they update them and I have to start all over again! Actually even for my last post they had managed to update them after I had finished it, so I had to implement the new changes before I posted it. I shouldn't complain, the changes are interesting and most of them well needed (yes, even the nerfs). I'll comment a little on other things than just the priest stuff this time though, I'll just pick a little here and there.

Heroic Nerf
Blizzard are bringing the nerf-bat down on most heroics. They are buffing some areas, but overall every heroic has become alot easier, and even if most heroics still are tricky I think you wouldn't have to be a psychic to predict more nerfs around the corner. Maybe we all knew it was coming, question is, do we want it to? I'm not sure if the difficulty of the instances was what was bugging me, on the other hand like I've mentioned before I have been running heroics mostly with guildies and I can imagine the general pug isn't doing as well. Come to think of it, a friend of mine had to do some 4-5 pug runs before he ever got passed Ozruk in Stonecore. So yeah, maybe the difficulty level was a tad too high. I suppose people could be divided into two faction about this nerf. The ones that think "well, just let it be difficult, otherwise the bad players won't ever learn to shape up. Or even better, the bad players might stop playing totally. Survival of the fittest". And the other one goes "there's no hope, there will always be bad players and right now they're just making it impossible to complete most heroics because they won't ever learn to cope with the difficulty level". I'm not sure which one of these I stand in, maybe one foot in both. In one way I do feel like stuff should be difficult, that is how we learn. But on the other hand, we can't expect miracles from everyone either. We have to realize that the bad player always will be a part of WoW and we have to adapt to that - just like we always have to adapt to the pvpers (do they ever adapt to us). It's a compromise of epic proportions, and these are the consequences of trying to fit so many different people together.

Priest Changes
Improved Power Word: Shield change reverted
I did feel like this was an odd change to begin with (it made the shield absorb 30% more when cast on yourself), so I'm not suprised they are removing it. It does seem odd that they invent a change, think it is good enough to implement and then suddenly decide that it wasn't (or that it was too good) and remove it again. Ah well, don't see that this will make much of a difference for us pve priests, it was probably just a little too good in pvp in combination with the other buffs to the shield they were making. Makes me yet again suspect that Blizzard are using several development teams that don't communicate much between eachother before they announce changes. "Hey, we're already buffing the shield over here, your change will make it op", "no your change will, ours is fine", "no yours, "no yours" and so on, until someone has to give in.

Strength of Soul now also causes the priest to become immune to silence, interrupt, and dispel effects for 2/4 seconds after using Inner Focus.
Yet another pretty synergy effect for the disc priest. It's interesting that Blizzard clearly thought that this talent wasn't very good when they implement such a heavy buff to the talent. How good will this be for the pve priest? Well silences and interrupts aren't a big problem in raids fortunately, and in any case probably not something we'd want to time with our inner focus anyway (since we want to use it with PoH and GH). I bet the pvping disc priests are happy though.

Prayer of Healing effectiveness has been reduced by 15%.
Let me just say I am not suprised. I don't know if I mentioned it before but I always thought of PoH as the best aoe healing in the game right now, especially when combined with the PoH glyph. Add to that Lightwell, Sanctuary, CoH and PoM and holy priests were pretty dang good. So good in fact that some guilds preferred to bring them for aoe heavy raid fights. I know those guilds weren't many and probably fighting heroic content, but that is always a sign that Blizzard will take notice of and probably act upon. Just as they did with dk tanks in Ulduar.

Binding Heal and Holy Word: Serenity now refresh the duration of Renew on the target, in addition to the other direct heals.
Binding Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal can now trigger Chakra: Serenity.
Thank you! I thought the only drawback of Chakra: Serenity really was that it had to be activated and maintained through Heal, which you don't always want to use. On heavy tank damage you don't want to have to through the occasional Heal just to maintain this stance. Great change this. But it makes State of Mind even less useful since the only thing that made it worth having was to make it easier to maintain the stance through Heals.

Circle of Healing effectiveness has been increased by 30%.
This is to counteract the nerf on PoH, and welcome of course. Last time I wrote something on CoH I said something along the lines of "this spell doesn't feel like it does much difference, I use it more like a spell to top people up than to actually help me with healing". This will hopefully make CoH a little more worth casting, although I already liked it for when moving around (which we do alot in raids).

Penance mana cost has been increased by 7%, but healing has been increased by 20%.
I don't see why they think like we have the mana to manage the extra mana costs, I've always felt like mana is rather tough when healing as a disc. On the other hand we really must be happy about the great buffs in throughput. Does make you wonder how Blizzard could let us run around and (clearly) suck so much until now. I mean... 20% extra is alot.

Shadow Orbs benefit from mastery has been increased by approximately 16%
I don't like shadow priesting and I don't know much about it. Something I did notice when playing shadow priest briefly however was that mastery didn't seem to be very good for spriests. When asking around about it it seemed I was right. Wonder if this buff will be enough? As reader Deception pointed out; "The short answer is yes".

Shaman Changes
Now that I actually have a level 85 shaman these changes interest me!

    Flametongue Weapon procs now deal roughly 20% less damage.
    The Windfury Weapon proc can now trigger 3 additional attacks, up from 2.
I am writing these two changes off at the same time since they ultimately affect eachother. Nerfing the one and buffing the other will have us ask which ones we should use. I am currently using Flametongue on OH and Windfury on MH but with these changes (basically 30% extra damage to windfury) we might want to use doubly windfury again? Testing and time will tell. It would be sad, because then it feels like Lava Lash would be the pathetic filler skill it was back in Wrath again. But if we look at another change we might get the explanation;

Flametongue Weapon damage now scales from attack power instead of spell power (for Enhancement shaman only).
I didn't know that it scaled from spell power, silly me thought that Blizzard had already thought about the problems with this and changed that a long time ago. It could be that the damage on Flametongue Weapon procs will skyrocket now due to this change (for enhancement shamans) and maybe increase the damage by about... 20%? That would explain why they are nerfing the damage, to bring it back to where it is right now.

Mana Tide Totem has been redesigned. The totem no longer multiplies the Spirit of those affected by it. It instead gives a flat amount of Spirit equal to 400% of the casting shaman's Spirit, exclusive of short-term Spirit buffs affecting the shaman when the totem is dropped. In addition, its effects are now raid-wide.
It's funny how Blizzard repeat their mistakes. They redesigned Innervate because it was favoring some classes over others, since it too increased mana regen based on the targets spirit initially. Then they go and make the exact same damn mistake with Mana Tide. And realize all over again that it was a bad idea. The old way Mana Tide heavily favored holy priests, since we have the biggest gain from any spirit increase. I could easily gain some 40-50% total mana from a mana tide, imagine having some three resto shamans in a raid and that the thing only has 2 min cd. Crazy. So this change was definitely needed.

Deep Healing (Mastery) has been increased to 3% per point, up from 2.5%.
Yeah I felt like this was needed. Mastery for resto shamans wasn't as good as it is for some other healing classes, maybe not very good at all. I can't say with my limited testing, but from what I've heard from "real" resto shamans that seemed to be the case.

Greater Healing Wave mana cost has been increased by 10%; healing done has been increased by 20%.
I already felt like GHW was the best option when healing heroics, combined with Healing Rain (and Riptide and ES of course). That doesn't mean that I felt like it was all that, just the alternatives were even less good (HW and CH). So I really welcome this change.

Chain Heal's effectiveness has been increased by approximately 10%.
Yes please! Like I wrote about in my short post on my experiences with healing as a shaman, it felt like Chain Heal was way to weak right now. Just as with CoH for priests I don't feel like its worth using much more as to top people off between fights. I wonder of 10% is enough to make it good, but I know Blizzard don't want us to turn into chain heal spamming the way we did back in Wrath.

Unrelated, but interesting. One circle is evil. Can you tell which one? Most of our raid can't ;) (Except on this picture actually!)

Druid Changes
Shapeshifts: Entering or leaving a shapeshift no longer cancels root effects. It continues to cancel movement slowing effects.
I'm not really sure what to say about it. Maybe it is sufficient to say that it looked like Loves heart stopped beating for a moment when he read about this change. Another druid in my guild posted a forum post on the matter called "Druid Curse-Whine-Rant". Druids won't be druids any more... (but I heard at least restos were getting this as a talent instead).

Typhoon mana cost has been reduced by 50%.
This is great, we had a couple of boomkins who used it for cc in raids and they always had mana issues. I bet they're happy now. Will make boomkins a more viable option as cc:er overall.

Enchant Off-Handed - Superior Intellect now increases Intellect by 40, down from 100.
Good! It was silly that they had an enchant that made two semi-good blue weapons as good as an epic staff.

Alchemist's Stones for Agility, Strength, and Intellect have been added.
When I first noticed that the only alchemist stone there was seemed to be for tanking I was confused. I still don't know why Blizzard seemed to have forgotten about all the other classes but I am glad they are implementing them. Better late than never. Intellect and haste are good stats for priests, although I would've preferred to see Intellect and Mastery. It could've been worse, it could've been crit.

The number of herbs required to create flasks has been reduced, while the Volatile Life needed has been increased slightly.
I think I wrote a comment somewhere on the current issues with flasks being way too costly to craft, that the amount of herbs needed to craft one flask that lasted one hour were just silly. I am glad Blizzard have realized this and now maybe we can hope flask prices will drop from the 300-400g each range to more reasonable prices.


  1. From a long time Shadow Priest the buff to mastery will put it slightly above crit. They were close before with crit having a slight advantage, but the 16% is enough for mastery to be better. I just came across this post while reading your site and figured I'd respond to the "Will it be enough?" question. The short answer is yes :).

  2. @Deception
    Thank you for the info :) I imagine they did some numbers on that and upped mastery just enough to be a little better than crit. Since I am clueless about shadow priests I wasn't sure, but I'll implement your answer in the text!

  3. This is an old post and you may not even see this now, but after reading the current patch notes I felt the need to vent and hopefully get anothers view on some of the changes.

    I know you are more Disc than holy healing wise, and there are changes for both, but I am unhappy with thh change to Holy Con. Less mana regen does not give me a happy feeling.

    Coupled with the fact that PoH took a hit which means less hps, hence more mana needed as it takes more casting of this spell now. CoH got a buff, but its on CD and in current healing mechanics would not be wise to bring off CD due to mana consumption and probable over healing waste.

    Renew got a mana reduction per cast, but that is a lame duck change as Renew is not a core spell used. by this i mean that chakra refreshes Renew, and in a raid I am nto going to be spamming renew as it woudl still not be mana efefctive compared to the healing it gives, especially not for spike raid damage.

    PoM gets a buff on the first hop, i guess that so they make you want to feel like its okay to use it more often, start it on the tank for the boost then let it hop around perhaps? Its like they are trying to make us fit it back in by giving it a little bump on the first hit, then it goes back to lack luster performance.

    Okay, sorry for the whining, and I am hoping that others who read this will be able to give more insight on the changes.

  4. @Anon
    I agree, all nerfs are nerfs after all, and no one wants to be less good than they are. But it has to be put in context. Can holy deal with the nerfs? I think so, especially the mana regen nerf.
    I do agree with you on PoH, I really liked it and I am sad panda that they are bringing it down. But even with the reduction I think PoH will be great.
    The buff to CoH was some due to the change to PoH, but I think also because it was too weak, simply. I did mention it in another post, how I felt like CoH didn't make much of a difference and like you say alot of it is overheal (but that just means we have to know when to use it better). It needed a little buff imo, and I already use it every cooldown on most raid fights when there is aoe damage.
    I'm not sure why they've changed PoM, maybe because priests were having a tough choice as to when to use it, and Blizzard wanted the choice to be easier. Keeping PoM on the tank is always supposed to be a good choice, and any extra jumps are supposed to be bonuses. We shouldn't have to time it for jumps to be able to use it mana efficiently.
    Renew needs a throughput buff, not mana reduction. It is ok, but I don't feel like I want to use my gcds on it since it just doesn't heal very much. I keep it on the tank and refresh it, and that's about it.
    Healing is supposed to be a challenge after all, and mana wasn't much of a challenge for me after a couple of epics. I can use basically any spell at any time without thinking about mana (except Flash Heal), just as in Wrath. We were also a bit too strong compared to the other classes when it comes to aoe healing, so eventhough I would've preferred to stay awesome, I do understand why Blizzard are making these changes.

  5. I am just going through you older posts (starting from the beginning) and want to congratulate you on the great job you are doing with the site, I have really enjoyed reading your posts. I just hope you get to see this as it is quite old.

    I just wanted to add a comment about the first paragraph of this post. It is fine to say that bad players shouldn't be there (and as I have little experience yet, I would classify myself in that category also). The problem with this approach is that Blizzard is still a business and must make money on their products. This can be very difficult when you look at the vast differences in abilities between casual/fun players (as I am) compared to hard core raiders. I feel the problem is that to get the great epic gear, you have to do the heroics, therefore you have players that are less hard core doing the heroics just for the gear. I remeber you have mentioned a similar thing to this before.

    Anyway, love your blog, please keep up the good work.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, people enjoying what I write is half the fun of writing :) I get notification on all the comments posted on my posts, regardless of age fortunately, so don't worry! I agree with your comment, and what many of us more "serious" (or whatever you wanna call it) players don't understand is that we still probably make out a minority of the player base. It is by simplifying (as in, making content more accessible to more people) Blizzard have been able to reach out to as many subscribers as they have, and we have to accept that.