WoW Patch 6.1 and Priests

We’re only a few days away from patch 6.1, wednesday here in Europe, and all the exciting new stuff it will bring to the game.

Class balancing is an ongoing thing and with every new content patch there are tweaks to the classes and their speccs. Sometimes there are more, sometimes there are less. Today I wanted to focus on the changes that Blizzard has planned for Priest.

From the PTR patch notes as they are now:

  • Priest
    • General
      • Power Word: Shield now absorbs 10% less damage.
    • Talents
      • Auspicious Spirits (Shadow) no longer cause Shadowy Apparitions to not deal damage. Instead, it now increases Shadowy Apparition damage by 100% in addition to still granting 1 Shadow Orb.
      • Cascade may now hit the same target twice. This results in an increase to total healing, so its healing has been reduced by 35% to compensate (the total healing in a 20-player raid will be slightly higher than before).
      • Clarity of Purpose’s (Holy) healing has increased by 20%.
      • Divine Star (Shadow) damage increased by 20%.
      • Halo now displays an indicator on the ground to make it easier for the casting Priest see where the ability is most effective. Additionally, Halo’s visual effect has been synchronized so a character will receive the effect when the nova intersects with them.
      • Insanity (Shadow) now also affects Mind Sear.
      • Mindbender lasts for 20 seconds (up from 15 seconds).
      • Psychic Scream now has a 30-second cooldown (down from 45 seconds).
      • Saving Grace’s (Discipline, Holy) healing has increased by 50%, but now reduces future healing dealt by 15% (up from 10%). Additionally, the talent is now instant-cast, but its effectiveness is reduced while in PvP combat.
      • Surge of Darkness now has a 12% chance to trigger (up from 10%).
      • Void Entropy (Shadow) damage increased by 80%.
      • Void Tendrils’ health has increased by 30%.

The first big thing is Power Word: Shield absorbing 10% less damage. Although this change might seem aimed at Discipline priests only it’s a fact that the Shield has been absorbing too much damage across all speccs. In the grand scheme of things it won’t matter much.

From our CC tier it seems that both Psychic Scream and Void Tendrils are getting a straight up buff. Both talents still rely heavily on personal preference, but it’s nice to see them both getting some love.

Shadow
Shadow is getting a few significant buffs. The first one is to Auspicious Spirits. Since the t17 4set requires Shadowpriests to specc AS anyway this is only a cherry on the cake. No longer do we lose our Shadowy Apparitions, instead we get to keep them and the extra Shadow orb.
The Insanity affecting Mind Sear is just a straight up buff to our AoE damage. Helping us become more competitive on fights with multiple targets, think of Blast Furnace, Operator Thor’Gar and Beastlord Darmac in Blackrock Foundry.
Although Blizzard is trying to bring more versatility to the Shadowpriest I personally think the Surge of Darkness and Void Entropy buffs are not enough to make them viable talents. Especially now that all priests are switching to AS and Insanity is still the strongest talent in it’s tier. The same goes for Divine Star, with the fights as they are now Halo will always be a better choice for Shadow…
Speaking of which, Blizzard will make it more clear where the edges of your Halo are so you can use it from the optimal distance. This is really a quality of life change since most raiding Shadowpriests have atleast a vague idea where to position themselves for the most effective damage output but now we’re getting visual aid for this, something I can only cheer for.

Holy and Disc
Cascade. Almost mandatory in the current raid meta, although I do see some priests rocking Halo aswell. I’m not sure what to think about this change. Although it’s nice that it is now able to hit the same target twice, especially in smaller groups, I wonder if that will outweight the straight up nerf the heal itself is getting. According to Blizzard it should heal a bit more for 20 players, but as we all know not everyone runs a 20 man comp. I would have to see this change in action before I can comment on it.
Saving Grace is a different matter. I feel like it fits a very specific niche and with these changes it only goes into that corner more. The talent is an absolute no-no for raiding but could prove to be very usefull in Challenge Modes. I think the reduced effectivenes for PvP was necessary, seeing the amount it heals for and the fact that it’s now instant cast. I still don’t see many raiding Priests picking up this talent but if you run Challenge Modes frequently I would suggest giving it a go.
The Mindbender buff however is one I can only cheer for. The 5 extra seconds of Mana regen are godlike, especially for lower geared Priests. I put this talent under Holy and Disc because you will never ever specc it as Shadow anyway.

The last buff is only for Holy’s Clarity of Purpose talent. Althought it’s a straight up buff to the healing it does I still think the talent itself fits a too specific requirement. It could work on fights where everyone has to be clumped up, like Oregorger, but other than that I feel it’s still not worth taking as talent.

All in all this patch brings good tidings to Priests. It looks like Shadowpriests should see a significant buff to their damage, especially AoE. For Holy and Disc I feel a lot of things stay the same. I don’t feel Blizzard has buffed certain talents enough to make them attractive. How the Cascade changes will play out we will see. The same goes for Power Word: Shield, but I don’t believe it will make that much of an impact.

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