The new expansion is here! I’ll be honest, when I first saw the preview I REALLY thought it was a joke. I mean, Pandas? Really? But as I thought about it more and more, it started to grow on me. Well, as you all know, with a new expansion comes CHANGES! Our talent system is completely getting overhauled. Blizzard is “cutting the fat” from our talent trees. No more “Increases X by Y” talents! They are all finally pure utility talents and you can choose the ones that suit YOUR character and YOUR play-style the best!
The new talent system is broken into 6 tiers, with each tier being unlocked at a particular level. Within each tier you will find 3 different abilities of your choice. These abilities work in different ways, but all serve the same purpose within that particular tier. This allows players to choose which abilities they want, whether it’s a cooldown ability or a passive proc, without having to feel the need to talent into NECESSARY abilities. It’s 100% your choice. I’ll be going over the Priest talents and how this affects healing Priests for PvE and PvP.
*Be aware that these abilities are in no way permanent, in fact I’d be shocked if 75% of them weren’t modified in some way by release date. Take these with a grain of salt.
Tier 1: Control
Void Tendrils- At first glance, this ability is a root affect similar to a Druid’s Entangled Roots. But upon closer inspection, this ability has the potential to be a little bit nastier. Not only can it grab more than one person, but it doesn’t break on damaging the target. Instead, the target needs to kill the tendril to break free. It lasts for a fairly decent 20 seconds (likely shorter in PvP) with a 30 second cooldown. This ability feels very “Yogg Saron” to me!
Psyfiend- This ability is probably one of the most unique CC abilities I have ever seen. You essentially summon a shadowy Psyfiend that will emit screams to enemies. It will target anything targeting you or your party/raid and will work on multiple targets. This can be a nasty caster interrupter in PvP and can keep a player busy while you heal your team/party. The best part is that even if a player breaks it once with a racial/trinket, it will simply recast and fear them again.
Psychic Scream- Ah good ol’ Psychic Scream. That’s right folks, Psychic Scream is NO LONGER A BASE ABILITY. If you want that AoE fear you have to talent into it for the first tier.
Out of the three: I’d personally take Void Tendrils, not only because it’s a root that doesn’t break on player damage, but because it can affect more than one person and it’s target-able on a 30 second cooldown.
Tier 2: Mobility
Body and Soul- Disc Priests can now take Body and Soul. The talent itself hasn’t changed from Live, but it’s nice that Disc can now provide that type of utility as well.
Path of the Devout- An interesting talent, tho in it’s current iteration seems a bit weak for anything other than making running back more convenient. Levitate breaks on any type of damage so it would be pretty useless in raiding. You also should expect damage in PvP too. If they made Levitate not break through damage I can see this being powerful for raiding.
Phantasm- Healing Priests now have access to Shadow’s escape ability. I can see this being VERY GOOD in PvP with PvE varying from boss to boss.
Out of the 3: Body and Soul is the safe choice for PvE raiding for healing Priests. Path of the Devout is too weak in it’s current iteration unless they modify Levitate. Phantasm would be great for PvP with PvE depending on the boss fight.
Tier 3: Healing/Damage Abilities
From Darkness, Comes Light- This is the current Surge of Light talent found in Holy tree. It works very well for tank healing and proc’s surprisingly well.
Divine Star- Yet another button to push! But this one is pretty freaking sweet. You send out a Holy star that deals damage and heals the targets in front of you. But wait! It’s a freaking BOOMERANG. When it gets to it’s destination it turns back and heals/damages everything in it’s path again!
Archangel- If you were wondering how this will work, it was stated that ALL Priests will have access to Evangelism. We don’t really know where Atonement will fit into Priests abilities yet, but I think it’s safe to assume they will keep it a Disc-exclusive ability. Also notice that it no longer restores mana.
Out of the 3: For tank healing, I’d go for From Darkness, Comes Light. Surge of Light procs an awful lot while tank healing on Live. If my role were raid healing I would take Divine Star for another cool healing ability. Archangel has potential but we don’t really know if Atonement is available for Holy or not. If it is, Evangelism might be very good, if not then it might be Disc/Shadow-only.
Tier 4: Survival
Desperate Prayer- One of our staple survival cooldowns is back. On Live it is favored in most Holy builds. Discipline PvP also picks it up as an important ability. It’s still on a 2 minute cooldown and still has no mana cost.
Angelic Bulwark- This ability actually had a brief introduction in Cataclysm Beta when Priest survivability was questioned in PvP. It looks like it’s back and in full force. A very good talent for Disc PvP.
Final Prayer- A new auto proc ability. It has a lot of potential in raids. PvP seems a bit mediocre due to it’s lengthy cooldown, especially for arena.
Out of the 3: I’d take Desperate Prayer for Holy PvP and Angelic Bulwark for Discipline PvP. Final Prayer would be my choice in PvE for both specs.
Tier 5: Output
Twist of Fate- This is actually the name of a current Shadow talent that has been gutted and redesigned. This talent reminds me of the current Test of Faith talent that a few Holy Priests currently loathe. Being able to heal for more when targets are below 25% is pretty good, but very situational. We also don’t know how much healing the actual increase is.
Power Infusion- Holy Priests have access to Power Infusion? Thank the heavens! A very powerful throughput cooldown that can be used on-demand. It’s essentially a mini-heroism with a 20% mana decrease to all spells.
Serendipity- This talent makes a return and is now accessible to Discipline Priests. It is currently not changed for the Live version.
Out of the 3: My personal favorite is Power Infusion because it’s a throughput cooldown that’s neutral to tank and raid healing. Twist of Fate is situational and has a requirement to be effective. Serendipity has a lot of potential especially for tank healing, but requires an expensive spell to be cast unless you talent into From Darkness, Comes Light and get a Flash Heal proc.
Tier 6: Cooldowns
Vow of Unity- Think of this talent as a reverse Beacon of Light crossed with a Hand of Sacrifice. You “make a vow” with a target and each time the target takes damage, 50% of the damage gets redirected to you over 6 seconds. You also are healed for 20% of the healing you do to the target. It has the potential to be incredibly powerful. Be aware that the Vow of Unity breaks if the target takes more than 30% of their health in damage. It’s a very good PREVENTATIVE tank cooldown.
Void Shift- Another powerful cooldown. This ability lets you switch health percentages with a target. Careful choices would need to be made with this ability so you don’t end up killing yourself, but at the same time it can be as powerful as a Paladin’s Lay on Hands but on a shorter 3 minute cooldown. It’s a good REACTIVE tank cooldown.
Vampiric Dominance- This talent is about increasing your throughput even further rather than adding a tank cooldown to your arsenal.
Out of the 3: Vow of Unity looks pretty awesome right now. If I was tank healing it would be my first choice. Void Shift looks pretty good, but I think VoU might be a little stronger right now. Vampiric Dominance would be my first choice if I was raid healing.
I’ll try to keep my opinions updated as we push closer to Beta testing. Head over to Wowhead News for more information!