Patch 4.2: The Future State of Holy Priests

Patch 4.2 is out on the PTR and we are getting some first-hand looks at the new encounters.  Surprisingly, Priests have been touched very little on the PTR and there are no significant changes or abilities that have been tweaked so far. Is this a good thing? Not necessarily. Some talents still need to be redesigned or changed to make them more attractive, specifically State of Mind in the Holy tree.

I loathe State of Mind. It use to be a mandatory talent for Holy Priests back in 4.0, but Blizzard has made it pretty useless for PvE since then. I won’t go into detail about how it needs to change, but Oestrus has a great post on how to fix State of Mind and you can find my thoughts about it and how it could be changed on her page.

Other than a few talents here and there, Priests have been doing good for this tier level throughput-wise. We are still on par with most healers and if played smartly we still have the ability to top the charts. But there are some concerns about Priest scaling with the next few tiers that have some worried about our viability in future raids. I completely agree with Tomaj in his assessment that Holy Priests and Restoration Shamans will be left in the dust in the next few tiers if something isn’t done. This will be mainly because they don’t scale with Intellect as well as other healers. But we’ll have to see what our numbers are looking like in the Firelands before we grab our pitchforks and torches and march upon Ghostcrawler’s office.

For 4.2, stat priority will most likely be similar to our current priority, even with the change to 200% critical heals. Crit will be more attractive, but will still be valued less than Haste and Mastery.

The Haste vs Mastery debate will still continue into 4.2, although I have a feeling Haste might take the lead. Why? Because of the high amounts of Spirit that will be available. More regen means we can cast more spells in an encounter which results in more HpS. Having the Haste to cast these extra spells is very important.

My stat priority prediction for 4.2:  Intellect>Spirit>Haste>Mastery>Crit

I’ll have to do some testing on the PTR to confirm this, so until then it’s still a tossup.

Overall I’m pretty happy where Priests are in the game and how we are stacking up in 4.2. Other than a few lackluster talents and a small scaling issue, Holy Priests are looking to be competitive against our fellow healers. We also have nice 2 and 4-piece bonuses to look forward to as well.

I’m really excited for 4.2. I have a feeling we will see it drop on Live realms by the end of June/early July at the latest. I will be making a loot priority guide for both Disc and Holy Priests soon. I’m just waiting for Blizzard to finalize their boss/vendor loot tables.