Thursday, March 3, 2011

Patch 4.1 - Some big changes

No matter what you want to say about Blizzard, you can't call them lazy. They're shooting out hotfixes like there was no tomorrow. Could this Rift I have been hearing so much about have anything to do with it? Maybe... Personally I am both happy and sad about all the changes. Setting apart the fact that constant change both is interesting and fun and confusing, it also messes with my posting schedule! I've got all these posts I want to get up here, and then Blizzard have to go and change the patches and I have to say something about that. Well I don't have to, but you know what I mean. The recent changes are actually really interesting, and Blizzard have taken their time to write a little longer comment about their plans for discipline specifically. It's pretty much what I thought they were thinking. Source is as always Let's take a look;

"We want Power Word: Shield, Power Word: Barrier, and Divine Aegis to continue to be an important part of a Discipline priest's rotation. We want you to use those spells frequently. The changes we've made through hotfixes and those that we currently have planned for 4.1. aren't intended to remove that element of gameplay at all, but simply refine it and bring it more in line with our design goals for the spec as a whole.

As we've stated in the past (, we don't want Discipline priests to use their shields to exclusion of everything else -- including, potentially, a more efficient heal. While damage mitigation is what Discipline priests are known for and something that you do very well, we also want you to cast important spells like Penance, Greater Heal, Prayer of Healing, and Flash Heal. Casting those heals doesn't make you a Holy priest, especially if you're using them to leverage other key talents in the Discipline arsenal (like Renewed Hope, Strength of Soul, and Train of Thought)."

Yes, I agree with all this.
But honestly I feel like this is exactly how I heal as discipline today. Except for Flash Heal. I do feel like Blizzard made Flash Heal a little too expensive, I actually barely use it today. On the other hand maybe they did want it to be a last resort kind of spell, and in that case it is working as intended.

"Holy 4-piece set bonus
This is feedback we've seen quite a bit, and it's good. With the changes to Chakra in 4.0.6, we realize a lot of players feel that the Holy 4-piece set bonus is currently much stronger than its Discipline counterpart. We don't disagree and it's something we've been actively discussing changing in 4.1 (for example, we're considering potentially removing the Weakened Soul requirement on Penance targets in order for the Spirit bonus to apply)"

This really annoyed me. I mean like really annoyed me. For holy you get 4set tier bonus by being in a chakra stance. That is 1 minute uptime with 30 sec cooldown. Dropping out of chakra doesn't happen, ever. Your bonus will be up 100% of the time. For discipline however, you only get the bonus if you use Penance on a target with Weakened Soul. I do use Penance on a target with Weakened Soul quite often, but that is beside the point. Holy get their bonus from doing basically nothing, while discipline has loads of prerequisites. What if I choose to use my Penance on a target that doesn't have WS? Should I apply a shield before just to get my bonus? That would be ok, if holy had some equivalent requirement for getting the bonus. Discipline have to use two gcds for the bonus, and on a specific target, holy have none of these requirements. I am glad Blizzard are looking into it, but to get it in line with holy they'd actually have to change the discipline requirements to "cast a heal and get bonus".

"Inner Will and Inner Fire now last until canceled."

Since I mostly raid on my priest, the duration of my Inner Fire/Will was rarely something I thought of. Even on good raid nights where I might not die within a 30 minute time span, I've definitely switched a couple of times between the two, refreshing the duration. But for questing this is welcome I suppose.

"It is now possible to remove Weakened Soul effects that were a result of another priest's Power Word: Shield through Strength of Soul.

This is great. No more having to whine at my fellow holy priests to not shield targets. But I still wonder if the WS of another priest affects my Renewed Hope? Must find out.

"Power Word: Barrier's cooldown has been increased to 3 minutes, up from 2, and its effect has been reduced to 25%, down from 30%."

Ouch! Heavy nerf. But I'm not surprised. They're doing the same thing to protadin talent Divine Guardian and for the same reasons. Bringing a discipline priest/prot paladin to a raid shouldn't make or break a raid. Blizzard have stated time and time again that they want to design the game so that we can bring the player, not the class. If they make some raid cooldowns too good, the choice between having two equally good players but with or without such a raid cooldown becomes no choice at all. This is a rough 30% reduced effectiviness of the Barrier over the course of a whole fight. But what really bugs me is that the 3 min cooldown synchs alot worse with boss mechanics than the 2 min cooldown did. But oh well, I don't want a 4 min cooldown either.

Death Knight
"Raise Ally has been redesigned to be a battle resurrection, analogous to Rebirth. It is instant cast, but costs 50 Runic Power to use, and has a 10-minute cooldown. It shares the same global battle resurrection cap with Rebirth and Soulstone."

This is really interesting. Raise Ally is never used in my guild, come to think of it I don't know why really. It's a decent spell and a ghoul is better than a dead player for sure. Maybe because it is more troublesome than beneficial in the end. Ah well, I can only imagine this is the case with how Raise Ally is being used (or not used) overall, and maybe Blizzard decided it was time to make something useful out of this spell. It doesn't really matter how good or bad a spell is, what ultimately matters is how players use it. Giving DKs a chance to "Rebirth" players is both good and bad. It is good because that means you won't feel the need to stack 3/1 druids for your raids to cover the Rebirths. It is bad because I can only imagine druids feeling more and more obsolete.

"Glyph of Raise Ally is now Glyph of Death Gate, and makes Death Gate cast 60% faster."

If I made a top 5 Meaningless Glyphs, this would be on that list. We can only hope this is a placeholder idea.

"Stampeding Roar's duration has been increased to 8 seconds, up from 6. The movement speed effect has been increased to 60%, up from 40%."

The problem with Stampeding Roar was never its duration or speed. It is its range. 10 yards barely includes all the melee. This is supposed to be a raid cooldown, like "oh shit we have to move out of here really fast, my gosh I wish we all had a speed boost right now!". But in the end the situations where that happens and enough people are stacked up for it to matter are... basically non existant. It is helpful to spread after a Blackout and similar situations, but you will do just as fine without it. Considering this is the prime skill of feralness (their level 85 skill) I can understand them being somewhat disappointed about it. Life Grip is way cooler (and more useful).

"Swipe (Bear) cooldown has been reduced to 3 seconds, down from 6."

Personally I feel like druid aoe tanking sucks majorly before you get Thrash. Unfortunately you don't get that skill until level 81, so that is 80 levels of stressed out and irritated bear trying to keep aggro on several targets with nothing but a pathetic Swipe, which not only deals no damage but also has a cooldown, and a glyphed Maul which costs all my rage. *takes deep breath* As you can see this is something that has been bothering me, and surely one of the reasons my druid is still waiting around in Vengeance Landing for something to do. Apparently I am not the only one who thinks this is a problem, and enough people have been whining about it for Blizzard to actually care. They rarely care about lowbie problems otherwise, which I can understand. Those problems are quickly overcome. But like I said, here we have 80 levels of a problem that just doesn't become better. Will 3 seconds less do much of a difference? Not so sure. I'd love it if they just lowered the level requirement on Thrash instead. Or increased the damage on swipe. Or threat. Or something!

"Heroic Throw is now available from trainers at level 20."

Jeez louise, only took them 6 years to figure out that Warriors need some kind of range threat even at lower levels? This is very welcome. Tanking ranged mobs was hell for warrior tanks (taunting being the only thing you could do).

"Pummel is now usable in all stances.
Shield Bash has been removed from the game."

So they switched Shield Bash for Pummel if you're prot basically. Will this change anything, besides the name? Yes actually, it is also a small buff, as Pummel has 10 sec cd and Shield Bash has 12. Yay! The daze effect is removed, but did you even think about it being there? I sure didn't. Except in pvp perhaps.

"Spell Reflection cooldown has been increased to 25 seconds, up from 10.
Shield Mastery no longer affects the cooldown of Spell Reflection, however, it now allows Shield Block to reduce magic damage as well."

At first I thought - "Aw, and Spell Reflect was a really good way to mitigate some spell damage in heroics". Overall I think this is a buff however (although that depends on how much spell damage Shield Block will end up to reduce. Data mined info from mmochamp points to a total of 25% damage. Quite awesome.) because I'd rather reduce a little spell damage all the time, than a little more every 10 seconds. And we can still use Spell Reflect to reflect the bigger spells. Also, most boss magic wasn't reflectable anyway.

"Gag Order now only affects Heroic Throw."

No more silencing? That makes me sad tank. I am certain they've changed this because it was too good in pvp, which annoys me of course. Being able to silence a caster for positioning even when he wasn't casting was really handy as a tank. Now I have to stand there and wait for him to cast. Ah well, if all the other tanks classes can do it, so can I.


  1. hmm, so you basically shoot the mob then H throw as he starts to cast now? I know our War tank in 5 mans would use the H throw to pull the caster, but I guess he just needs to add another step to it now. Face pull then throw also works I guess, though raneg wise that would defeat the purpose of using a ranged attack to pull.

    Personally for me, the pally shield toss is still one of the best ways for a tank to pull. Toss it, slap three targets, slowing affect and plenty of time to throw down the consecration and position as needed.

    I agree that the 4 piece bonus needs to be looked at. I am holy and admit that basically standing in chakra and getting the bonus is sweet, yet its like a give me bonus with no work needed.

    I still do not see exactly how they are wanting to change the whole shield issue with Disc that Blizzard states they have. They even mention that Disc is built around mitigation. Personally I have never had a Disc in my group/raid that uses nothing but shields. Between teh bonus on WS and grcae coming up, a nice penance and/or Gheal is a nice way to heal up a target while the shield is being chewed up. I dont play Disc so maybe I am not understanding how its supposed to work. Do you not shield to give time to heal up target while the incoming is being mitigated? You may need to cast less actual heal spells, but then thats mitigation, which as blizzard stated is what Disc is I not getting it?


  2. @Solaril
    No I usually use HT for pulling as well. The silence from Shield Bash was nice for some extra utility to handle casters when they were more than one or two. These occasions might not come often, but on the other hand it is really annoying not to have a good way to handle it when it does. Unlike most other tank classes, warriors don't have much range threat, so instead we want to make sure the ranged come to us.

    I suppose there are some disc that use the shields this way, and they ruin it for the rest of us. I don't do it because it is boring and I don't feel it is a good way to heal frankly. The few times I actually do spam shields (last phase hc chimaeron) I oom faster than fast. Yes, exactly like you say, shields are supposed to buy time for the real heals, kind of like hots work for druids (or did back in wrath anyway). Like I said in my post about shields, the drawback of shields are that they don't heal. Without heals the shields are useless, unless they would absorbs all the damage done in a raid - which they don't. Blizzard don't seem to think that they absorb too much damage, in that case they would nerf that. They just think we rely too much on it, which is why they increase the mana cost and reduce the up time instead. We'll see how it turns out.

  3. I'm not a fan of the disc "dome of happiness" nerf because the damn thing is so SHORT anyway. By the time everyone clusters under it, it's gone. You gotta have mad skills just to get the full effect now.

  4. @Zel
    I especially dislike trying to time it on Atramedes. I place it for Searing Flame, those sound swirls come and everyone has to run out of it >:( All the time! So I have to place it where people will run, but they don't always run there, like they are trying to avoid the barrier or something. *sigh* I can see myself going "USE THE BARRIER!" instead of "USE THE LIGHTWELL!".

  5. Just saw some recent updates to the 4.1 patch which may aggravate you even further, but may suggest a future change to the 4 piece healing set bonus.

    Chakra will now have 100% uptime until it is cancelled by the priest.

    One change I am extremely happy about is the 100% pushback protection while channeling both our Hymns. I hate getting knocked out of it during Council in BoT.