13 April 2010

And the winner main for Cataclysm is...

Warning! In this post I'll talk about Cataclysm class preview, if you don't want to read spoilers, don't read this post !

Shaman and priest preview are now out for Cataclysm (ok it's been for a few days but I couldn't write before now), and that's plenty of nice changes announced. As I played and loved both classes as my main, this led me a little step further to choose which character I'll play when Cataclysm goes out...

Shaman changes

Let start with resto shaman changes. Those are pretty nice : new healing spells, nice mastery bonus, and the come back of Spirit Link <3.

Healing Wave (level 4): While the shaman already has an ability called Healing Wave, we're adding another spell to the class's direct-healing arsenal and giving it a familiar name. The current Healing Wave will be renamed Greater Healing Wave, and the intent is for the 'new" Healing Wave to be the shaman's go-to heal. Lesser Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave will be used on a more situational basis.

As it was announced, shaman have their healing spells panel extended. Now we'll have an Healing Wave that will be mana efficient, a big heal (Greater Healing Wave, our current Healing Wave), and an emergency heal (Lesser Healing Wave). I'd guess the new Healing Wave cast time will be somewhere between Lesser and Greater Healing Wave, the mana cost will be very low, and it won't heal for a lot, perhaps a bit like the healing provided by Lesser Healing Wave.

Unleash Weapon (level 81): Unleashes the power of your weapon enchants for additional effects (see below). A dual-wielding Enhancement shaman will activate the effects of both of their weapon enchants. Instant cast. 30-yard range. 15-second cooldown. Undispellable. * Earthliving Weapon - Heals the target slightly and buffs the shaman's next healing spell by 20%.

This spell is nice, but we'll have to use it on cooldown if we want it to be really useful. I suppose we'll want to macro it to some big or emergency spell.

Healing Rain (level 83): An area-effect heal-over-time (HoT) spell that calls down rain in a selected area, healing all players within it. There is no limit to the number of players who can potentially be affected; however, there are diminishing returns when healing a large number of targets, much like the diminishing returns associated with AoE damage spells. This should give Restoration shaman another healing tool that improves their group-healing and heal-over-time capabilities. 2-second cast time. 30-yard range. 10-second duration. 10-second cooldown.

This spell seems just wow. An aoe healing spell, without a limitation in the targets number, and without having to channel it, of course I want it ! It's not overpowered though as it requires that people stay in the area of the spell for the full duration. And I suppose the size of the area will be limited too. But resto shaman will clearly become even more powerful when healing stacked people.

Spiritwalker's Grace (level 85): When this self-targeted buff is active, your spells are no longer interrupted by movement and possibly even by your own attacks. This will give shaman of all three specs another way to heal or do damage when it’s necessary to move in both PvE and PvP. Instant cast. 10-second duration. 2-minute cooldown.

Imagine you're running and chain heal ribbons of awesomeness are still jumping in every directions... Who wouldn't love that ? Apart from the hunt trying to hit you while you run around pillars in arena of course. But I suppose we'll have to get used to this spell before using it efficiently. Running and casting are such opposed actions since we play wow.

  • We're making changes to which classes and specs are able to dispel magic, diseases, curses, and poison, largely for PvP purposes. Shaman will have Cleanse Spirit as a baseline ability, but it will only remove curses. Restoration shaman will have a talent that will improve Cleanse Spirit so that it also removes magic. Shaman will no longer be able to remove poison.
  • Cleansing Totem will be removed from the game, as we want dispels to be a decision for players, not something done mindlessly. To that end, all dispels will cost slightly more mana, and you will waste the spell if you cast it when there is nothing to remove. (Currently, the dispel is only cast when there is something to remove, which encourages spamming 'just in case.") We will balance PvE dispelling with this new model in mind.

The change to dispel mechanism is the only one I don't like. I was perfectly fine not being able to dispel magic with my shaman, and I'll miss poison dispelling. I'll miss cleansing totem to, but I have to admit this could be overpowered. But I really can't imagine how you can manage fights like Iron Concil Hard Mode without being able to spam you dispel button on the tank before the debuff land.

Spirit Link will likely be worked back into deep Restoration in some form. The idea is that you will be able to link targets together so they share damage. When we had previously tried to implement Spirit Link, it was hard to balance and a little confusing. However, we really liked the concept -- and so did players -- so we are trying to bring it back

I love that. I was so sad when they abandoned Spirit Link for Riptide in WotLK beta. I just hope they'll be able to balance this spell now. Not only will this spell make resto shaman very useful for some fight mechanisms, but it also has a great synergy with Chain Heal!

Resto shaman specific Mastery bonus : Deep Healing: Your direct heals will do more healing when the target's health is lower. This will scale to damage (e.g. someone at 29% health would receive more healing than someone at 30%) rather than have arbitrary break points.

This is a great mastery bonus. Your spell become more powerful when you really need it, that's always good! I just hope this will work with all chain heal jumps(I don't know what they mean with "direct heal"), but even if it only works with the first jump it'll be ok for me.

Priest changes

I don't know if it's because I read shaman changes first, but I fell less excited by priest changes.

Heal (available at level 16): While priests already have a spell called Heal, the existing version becomes obsolete at higher levels, which is something we intend to change in Cataclysm. Introduced at a low level, the "new" Heal spell will functionally work much like a down-ranked Greater Heal did in the past, adding more granularity to your direct-healing arsenal. If you need to heal someone a moderate amount and efficiency is an issue (making Flash Heal the incorrect spell for the job), then Heal is what you want to use. Heal is intended to be the priest's go-to direct-healing spell unless they need something bigger (Greater Heal) or faster (Flash Heal). We will be following a similar philosophy with all the healing classes.

Here again a new healing spell. As I understand why they add a new spell for resto shaman, I don't really feel like priest did need a new spell. We already have lots of them, a little adjustment in mana cost and amount healed could have done the job very well in my opinion.

Inner Will (level 83): Increases movement speed by 12% and reduces the mana cost of instant-cast spells by 10%. This buff will be exclusive with Inner Fire, meaning you can't have both up at once. Inner Fire provides a spell power and Armor buff; Inner Will should be useful on a more situational basis

While this new buff will be situational, it's nice to have the choice between 2 buffs, depending on fight mechanisms, or on your gearing choices.

Leap of Faith (level 85): Pull a party or raid member to your location. Leap of Faith (or "Life Grip") is intended to give priests a tool to help rescue fellow players who have pulled aggro, are being focused on in PvP, or just can't seem to get out of the fire in time. Instant. 30-yard range. 45-second cooldown.

Ah! This is the fun change for priest. This will be a fun joke to make to your fellow raid members at the beginning of Cataclysm, when they still don't know this ability. But the spell would need a little instant heal to be really useful in PVE. Without any heal, I suppose a shield could do the job most of the time. We still need more information about this spell though, but for now I would say it'd be situationnal, and could be a good spell for some fight mechanisms.

Greater Heal will probably be the tank-healing spell of choice, though we've also discussed giving Discipline a second shield so that they have a small shield to cast on lots of different targets, and a big, more expensive shield to cast on a tank or anyone else taking a ton of damage.

I hope some love will be given to Greater Heal. This spell is seldom used, and I understand why : there isn't any talent that improves Greater Heal in the disc tree, holy priest are rarely on tank healing duty so they don't pick Greater Heal talents, and, most of all, the spell doesn't have a glyph! I hope the developers will give this spell a nice glyph to make it more attractive and a real gameplay choice. By the way, I love the facts that disc priest will have many shields at their disposal. I suppose they'll all share the Weakened Soul debuff, and that's ok because we will have to choose wisely the good shield to cast.

Discipline will finally be getting Power Word: Barrier as a talented ability. Think of it like a group Power Word: Shield.

Lots of priests loved this spell, but I'm not particularly excited. Won't some fight become boring if you can shield the full raid with 5 gcd ? I suppose the spell will have a cd but still, I'm fine with PW:S for now.

We want to make Holy a little bit more interesting to play. One new talent will push the Holy priest into an improved healing state when he or she casts Prayer of Healing, Heal, or Renew three times in a row. The empowered state varies depending on the heals cast.

This mechanism seems interesting. I can't wait to know what the empowered state will provide! This probably won't be always useful, there are some fight when you really need to use all your spell, and can't just use aoe heals or single-target heals. But there are some fight (or some phases in fights) where you just spam one type of heals from the beginning to the end.

  • Discipline specific Mastery bonus :
    Absorption: Improves the strength of shields such as Power Word: Shield, Divine Aegis, and Power Word: Barrier.
  • Holy specific Mastery bonus :
    Radiance: Your direct heals add a small heal-over-time component to the target.

The disc priest mastery bonus is great. What else could have suit better to disc ? But I feel the holy bonus a bit strange. I never liked the glyph of Prayer of Healing that much. I suppose this bonus will be situational. It could be great if the holy priest is the main raid healer and there are constant raid damage, but if there is one or many druid or shaman healing the raid, I don't think the little holy hots will have the time to heal anything. Plus, how will these hots works when a priest heals multiple times in a raw the same target ?

As I said, I do not feel as much excited with priest changes as I felt with the shaman changes. By now I'd say Cataclysm will be the good time to take my "shaminette" back to the front. And you, what do you think of these preview? What are your favourite ones ?

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