Tobold's Blog
Saturday, November 22, 2008
A reversal of fortunes

Through all of the original World of Warcraft and the Burning Crusade, I was playing a holy priest and a protection warrior. As I'm mainly interested in group play, I wasn't interested in dps specs for those classes, as I didn't want to constantly respec. I accepted that both would be leveling slower than for example my frost mage. And I observed that the holy priest was leveling somewhat faster than the protection warrior. Now patch 3.0.2. brought a lot of changes to all classes, and Wrath of the Lich King some more. And curiously now my protection warrior levels much faster than my holy priest.

The holy priest admittedly now can kill a single mob faster than before, by putting two DOTs on it, then burning it down with Smite, Mind Blast, and Holy Fire. But that method isn't terribly mana efficient, after two mobs I'm out of mana. So I spend a lot of time sitting and drinking to get ready for the next fights. It's getting a bit better since I put points into Spirit Tap, but its still slow. My warrior on the other hand is herbalist / alchemist, and has lifebloom, mixology, and newly created eternal healing potions. And just using both lifebloom and the eternal healing potion whenever the cooldown is over is enough for him to keep killing mobs of his level without ever needing to sit and eat to regain health. And since I discovered that Berserker Rage now can be used not only in Berserker Stance, I never run out of rage either. Even in defensive stance I'm a killing machine, due to Shockwave and Sword and Board.

So I'm wondering whether Blizzard kind of "forgot" priests in their review of making every class great damage dealers. Or will I have to wait for the promised dual-spec feature, so I can solo faster in shadow spec without losing holy spec for groups.
They have absolutely nailed tanking specs in my opinion. I'm really enjoying levelling my warrior as protection. I think they know that healing specs could use some reworking - I seem to remember a blue comment that they planned a rework of healing sometime in the future. With the warrior, once you hit 75 you get enraged regeneration (which you can use for an extra HoT when you are enraged which if you are protection spec is every time you block or parry ... so almost always).
I don't have a non-Priest toon to level, but I started as Shadow in the expansion and I don't notice any lack of time soloing in Wrath when I switched to Holy.. I need to drink a bit in instances as a healer at 72, but in the Shadow vs Holy battle grinding discussion I'm even.
I think I posted before about your problems with the holy priest, but this post just makes me wonder about your stats as two mobs then drinking is not the usual. As a 74 holy priest (and this counts for when I was 70 as well) I can easily go for 6 mobs without drinking. My armoury link is:

You can see I'm not uber geared, just well geared. My build is primarily aimed at healing instances.

My usual attack is Holy fire, SW:Pain, smite until dead. Possibly a reknew during a fight if I need it or a PW:Shield if I feel lazy. My basic in combat regen is 193 which pretty much 75% refils the smite cost during the casting of smite.

I can usually take two mobs at once if I'm careful, three if I'm daring. If things get hairy, psychic scream gives me a chance to heal.

As a comparison, my 70 mage will need to drink after 3 mobs. My prot tank needs to eat after 5-6 unless things go bad. I find that while my priest may kill one single mob slower than the other (5 casts instead of my mages 3, for instance), the longevity and lack of downtime more than makes up for this.
All I can say is, "At least you're not a tree."
According to Blizzard, Holypriest DPS is fine, but they want to buff Holypala and Restrodruid DPS. We are told to respec Shadow if we want more ;)
Tanks are a bit overpowered at the moment in my opinion. They don't seem to be noticable slower in leveling than DDs and with good equip they can solo quests that are meant to be done by 3 people. Seems like block is a bit strong since I've seen Protpalas and Defwarriors do that, but Tankdruids still fail.
Checking out Brunen's armory profile, I wonder if I should have taken Searing Light.
I think Blizzard may have held off on changing up Holy Priests (and reso shamans/druids, holy paladins) too much before they address the healing role itself. While they made many changes in 3.02 to homogenize tanks and change the way (and degree to which) many of them generated threat, they have acknowledged that healing is often interface whack-a-mole. Right now they're looking at ways to make healing more dynamic and with those changes I think you'll see the same sorts of buffs that prot warriors have experienced.
I am using a Disc/Holy spec to level and heal effectively in instances. Currently 35/25/3 at 72. My rotation is simple: Holy Fire, then Smite, using Holy Fire again if I must when it's off CD. I pop Renew once the mob gets under 2000 HP (which is for my gear one Smite or HF away from death) to bring me back to full while I find my next victim. I use Inner Armor (since I spec'd for it) and I only use PW:S if I have to quickly Greater Heal myself. Getting all the Spirit talents and having 4/4 Epic set from the Scourge invasion, I'm averaging about 900 DPS and I never have to drink. I also get 2k Flash Heals and 4.5k Greater Heals (non-crit). I'm Severen on Kilrogg-EU, look me up to see my gear and talent specifics.
Here's my Armory link:

Also, I should clarify I do HF and Smite over and over until dead or HF is available again (usually dead after a second HF). I don't mess with the DoTs, but that could be my deficiency. I just don't like the mana-damage ratio.
Cool, your mp5 is a little low but is in line with your +SP and as the armoury is unbuffed and you have IDS that no doubt raises when you regen when you are playing.

I don't really know tbh, you aren't that different to me. I've never used Holy Fire as anything but an opener but you really should use SW:P immediately after HF - it'll last the period of most fights and lets you simply stand there at the end while the mob dies. Other than that, I guess it's just timing and perhaps replace some gear with items that have +spr and +mp5 as well?
Your experience is the exact opposite of what I was commenting on to friends last night. My holy priest can easily kill 6-8 mobs before needing to stop and drink. I'm sure to use Inner Focus, Shadow Fiend and Hymn of Hope. I usually bubble, pop Holy Fire, SW:Pain and two smites before wanding the mob the rest of the way. My warrior on the other hand (who just respecced to prot, so I don't have prot gear on) takes forever to kill even a single mob, but doesn't have any down time. Overall, I'd rather be moving on to the next mob with a little more down time than spending too much time on a single mob.
speaking about priests, you cannot omit mentioning the discipline spec. They are not that uber dps, but I believe they have much better mana efficiency than holy, due to divine spirit and rapture, bigger mana pool due to mental strength, and some nice healing features such as twin disciplines, pain suppression and many others. IMHO, disc priests are better than holy in DPS and comparable in healing.
I think holy spec is probably middle of the road (somebody has to be the upper, lower, and median or it isn't a "band", after all) damage wise, and the mana usage is a secondary issue.

Having said that, I am very happy with a holy/Disc hybrid - spec at least far enough into disc to get the reflective shield and divine spirit talents, load the rest into Holy. It's a great healing build and a moderately good grinding build, a lot easier on the mana than pure Holy. If you're feeling adventuresome, you might consider trying it out.
I am very happy with the changes to prot warriors. I was 2h arms for a long time till the 3.0 patch, then I decided to try some protection, and it's been great so far.
"... in their review of making every class great damage dealers."

This is one of the main reasons I don't play WoW anymore. Instead of further distinguishing between the classes and increasing the degree of specialization, making each class/talent spec more and more unique, Blizzard just went in exactly the opposite reaction. In 4 years every class will be virtually the same. The only differences will be the animations accompanying hotkey mashings. Yawn.
Thank you for pointing out that the DOTs aren't mana efficient. I do get a 3 damage per mana ratio out of Smite, and as I have about the same order of magnitude of mana than the mobs have health, I can kill 3 of them by just using Smite. I do use Inner Focus and Shadow Fiend, but Hymn of Hope is a sad, sad, joke, and totally useless. And whatever I do, it only works really well on single mob pulls. Two I can still live with. 3 is getting difficult. My warrior has no problems at all with multiple mobs.
This is one of the main reasons I don't play WoW anymore. Instead of further distinguishing between the classes and increasing the degree of specialization, making each class/talent spec more and more unique, Blizzard just went in exactly the opposite reaction. In 4 years every class will be virtually the same. The only differences will be the animations accompanying hotkey mashings. Yawn.

This is the predictable result of designing the game around arenas. Many predicted we'd be here but the devs blew us off and told us we were wrong. Funny how they never prove themselves right.
DOT 'em up then use your wand
I couldn't disagree with you more. I'm leveling up my priest (just hit 79) as Disc/Holy, and I'm burning through mobs pretty quickly with no down time. The only time I have to drink is if I get ganged up on by 3 or more mobs.

I start with Smite since it has a longer cast, then Holy Fire, then a few more Smites. I'll finish mobs off usually by wanding them down, sometimes using Shadow Word: Death if I'm in a rush. If I'm fighting multiple guys at once, I'll toss Shadow Word: Pain and Devouring Plague on the guy I'm not focusing on. Here's my build:
I don't think that making all classes fun to solo with is the same as making them all the same.
I went Shadow for leveling. Zero downtime, very good killing speed. I'll go back to Holy when I hit 79 :)
"I don't think that making all classes fun to solo with is the same as making them all the same."

That's not what they did, though. I wish it were. I played WoW almost from release and I remember vividly the classwide complaints back then. I could enumerate every single one of them and then tell you how Blizzard attempted to fix them, but the point would be clear that making classes "fun to solo" doesn't mean giving them all the ability to do dps at more or less equal levels and give them all overlapping abilities. The problem is that Blizzard has still never figured out how to be creative OUTSIDE of their little box, and that is why the WoW of today fails for people who lap up innovation. Blizzard succumbed to player pressure one time too many.

Thing is, is people in general love the status quo. That's why it's ok for every class to be essentially the same and nobody really cares that much. WoW players represent a large group of players who demand a very specific kind of gaming experience, and demand that experience change very little in a short period of time. Frog in a tea kettle, if you will. Unfortunately for me, I loved WoW 1.0 so much that the game in its current state almost literally makes me sick. I simply cannot play it.
"This is one of the main reasons I don't play WoW anymore. Instead of further distinguishing between the classes and increasing the degree of specialization, making each class/talent spec more and more unique, Blizzard just went in exactly the opposite reaction. In 4 years every class will be virtually the same. The only differences will be the animations accompanying hotkey mashings. Yawn." (Adam)

I just had to quote Adam. Exactly my feelings. They now want to give better AoE to rogues at the moment. As all their instances have become pure AoE Gankage. And guess WHO is the damage and tanking king, it is the Death Knight. I doubt this will change much in raids.

They are heading in the wrong direction. It is okay to give more damage to healers and prot tanks, but they have gone so far that tanks outdps damage dealers. Age of Hybridcraft follows Age of Meleecraft... but still focus on melees...^^

Sure, my Paladin could not level as fast as my Warlock. But he had other qualities. Nowadays we had Hybrid players like Druids and Shamans moaning they were not brought to raids for being second best in some specs.

But well, I have seen Mages outclassed in Sunwell, but tons of Shamans with Drums. And Feral and Tree druids were fine, too.
Now raw damage dealers shall deal 5-10% more damage than a hybrid specced for damage. But got none of their utility skills. Oh well.

This idea of making all classes interchangeable so much just does not work with EQ-based games. Now we are all equal, and some classes just more equal.

Instead of having everyone similar healing, tanking and killing speed, give Tobold's priest premium healing abilities that others cannot rival.

Given the fragility of mobs nowadays, everyone should level up reasonably fast. But Blizzard is still thinking about their dual spec feature:
You get two specs which you can switch on the fly out of combat - so if you are a tank and want to solo grind/level, switch to your dps spec. After that become a healer or tank. This favors hybrids a lot, and there were good reasons to prevent easy on the fly switching early on. But Ghostcrawler seems to try to emulate Guild Wars style gameplay into WoW, which is going to make the game more accessible, casual but not necessarily better or more fun for not so super casual gamers in the long run.
I wouldn't have even bothered leveling as a Tank-spec prior to patch 3.0. I have a pally, not a warrior, but same thing. Before 3.0 a tankadin had way too much down time due to mana. At 71 pallys get divine plea(25% mana returned on a 1 minute cool down). All I need to do is use seal/blessing of wisdom and divine plea and I never run out of mana.

It still takes me longer to kill a mob as tankadin then it would if I dps specced, but the upside is that I can kill 10 mobs at once. 10 mobs only takes slightly longer then 1. I can do this solo to, no healer required. The main problem is rounding 10 mobs together, not killing them. Lastly what is nice about being prot spec is that I'm able to solo group quests. 3+ party group quests. I'm sure a prot warrior with potions could do the same.
"Instead of having everyone similar healing, tanking and killing speed, give Tobold's priest premium healing abilities that others cannot rival."

Like Circle of Win?

The change to + spellpower on items was a boost to all healer classes DPS. If anything the problems with Tobold's priest may be that he has more healing oriented items as opposed to DPS oriented cloth items.

Saying that it would be a bit nicer if healers could level and quest better in their healing specs. It seems as though the majority of my guild raid force is now 80 with the exception of the healers who all seem to be in the 76-79 range.
"Instead of having everyone similar healing, tanking and killing speed, give Tobold's priest premium healing abilities that others cannot rival."

If you do something liek this, you could end up like clerics were for a long time in EQ. If you didnt have X number of clerics on, then you couldnt raid. Even though other classes could heal, it was never enough.
Am I the only one who thinks its incredibly irreleavant to be discussing leveling with a healing spec when you can simply spec shadow and level way faster and switch back at 80 or whenever you might want to run an instance? Why would blizzard balance around that? Its better now and I wouldn't expect to improve much more.
Simply spec shadow until 80?
Because people want you to heal instances for them before you hit 80. And the problem will still exists when you hit 80 and you need to go solo your dailies.

Said is right, I remember those days. Not only that, but the other side of the coin was that clerics couldn't solo at all at most levels and not easily the rest of the time. If you couldn't find a group you were better of logging a different character or not playing at all.

Just because Blizz want to make everyone able to solo doesn't mean that they are making every class the same. They are simply trying to make it so that some classes aren't screwed when they have nobody to run with. At this point Holy has come a long way. It wasn't long ago when soloing the dailies as holy felt like trying to kill mobs with a wiffle ball bat. So much better now, but perhaps still lagging a bit.

I will, however, agree that the "pure" dpsers should be able to do the best dps. Being able to solo doesn't mean that you have to be able to do as much damage as a dps spec or a pure dpser. Increasing dps is not the only way to solve the problem, the other possibility would be to make these squishy classes less squishy when soloing. For us Priests perhaps a better bubble that is a self cast only? Or perhaps a defense only guardian angel pet. I do like the new 51 point holy talent though.

And Tobold, I am so with you on "Hymn of Fail." My priest is a Draenei and I loved "Symbol of Hope." It didn't give you a lot, but it was noticeable and it was instant. An 8 second channel to give people less than 1/12th of their mana? Not worth it even if your whole group is mana users. They will need to at least double if not triple the amount of mana returned or make it instant again and reduce the cooldown to 2 mins. 8% is a tiny amount. Even as an instant it would barely be worth the global cooldown. The only time I will use this will be out of combat and even then 8 seconds could be better spent drinking and looting. The only other way I see them making this a useful spell would be to make it a 20 sec channel that restored 100% mana to the group but only usable outside of combat. Free drinks every 5 minutes? That would be ok.
I respec 2 or three times a day. 50g isn't any kind of real burden anymore. You can spec shadow for whatever than switch back for raiding. I tank heroics during the day and dps raid at night. And if suddenly a group doesn't need a tank I switch to dps and than I'll probably switch back to tanking for more heroic groups.
Next patch will also bring the duel spec system. I don't think your going to get much traction with Bliz about making healing specs dps more.
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