Friday, September 23, 2011

Class Feedback - Priest

So a trend in World of Warcraft blogging is to take the feedback form post Blizzard provided in every class forum last week and fill it out as a blog post. As the last to join any trend, it's come time for me to jump off the bridge because everyone else is.

So here are my answers to the class feedback form, from the perspective of someone who mainly plays a discipline priest, but enjoys healing on a paladin, shaman and druid, has a passing interest and random experience with ranged and melee DPS and reads about tanking but doesn't do it.

What type of content do you focus on? [PvE/PvP/Both] 

PvE. All PvE, all the time. No PvP. Negative time spent on PvP. 

If PvE, what type of PvE? [Heroics/Raids/Other]

Heavy focus on raiding. I run dungeons only in the service of raiding (gearing up, capping valor points for the week, that sort of thing). Well, I also sometimes run dungeons in all-friend groups just for the fun of it. That isn't my focus in the game, though.

What are your biggest quality-of-life issues? For instance, no longer requiring ammo could be considered a quality-of-life improvement for hunters. 

Really, they're largely graphical issues. I very much enjoyed the "flinch" effect that Penance had on friendly targets and the Divine Aegis soap bubble was really attractive. Now they're gone. (So sad!) These types of things don't improve or reduce my effectiveness but they do affect my enjoyment of the game, so they're "quality of life" issues to me. 

What makes playing your class more fun?

  • The stylishness. I think discipline priests are the most visually spectacular of the healing classes, with Penance, Prayer of Mending, Power Word: Shield, Divine Aegis before the style-nerf, Holy Fire and Archangel for smite specs and Power Word: Barrier. Call us the "golden glow" healers.
  • The versatility. Whether or not you play discipline or holy, you can cover any assignment and fill virtually any healing role. Holy has Chakra to help switch modes, while discipline priests, with the aid of Divine Aegis, can quickly get a lot of healing+protection to a lot of targets or just focus on single targets to fantastic effect.
  • The large toolbox. Priests have a lot of spells that are useful in raiding environments. They have a lot of cooldowns available to them and a lot of regularly-used healing spells. It can take a little while to become instinctive with so many spells, but it's a lot of fun to have an arsenal of spells at your disposal.
  • Stat complexity. For discipline, the relative merits of spirit, haste, critical strike and mastery are hotly (and I do mean hotly) debated. It is impossible to find a consensus on even the single-best secondary stat, let alone an entire stat priority system. Because discipline brings healing, absorption and mitigation, a discipline priest can play in a huge variety of ways (and should play in a variety of ways, depending on raid format, composition and fight). That means correct stat priorities can vary from priest to priest. It gives us a lot to ponder and experiment with and I think that creates a richer experience than something like, "Stack haste to this plateau, then get critical strike to this soft cap, then stack spirit. Avoid mastery like the plague."

 What makes playing your class less fun?

Nothing. Honestly, there's nothing that ever makes me feel like playing a priest isn't much fun. I think that means that I feel priests are really well-designed at the moment!

How do you feel about your “rotation”? (Rotation is the accepted order in which abilities are used to maximum efficiency.)

AoE healing is largely one button: Prayer of Healing. Sure, you want to get Prayer of Mending out on cooldown, you can pop longer cooldown spells and you can weave in Power Word: Shields for the haste buff if your mana will allow it. But the thing that makes priest AoE healing so powerful (a spammable AoE heal) also dooms it to feeling a little spammy.

However, this isn't a contradiction of what I said above, about there being nothing that isn't fun. While AoE healing can get a little more repetitive than might be ideal, it's very satisfying to see the green numbers flood the screen and everyone sporting a Divine Aegis bubble. It feels powerful, like you're pumping out healing, and that's fun.

What’s on your wish list for your class?

  • Lightwell. I think putting a large part of holy's effectiveness in the hands of others is less than ideal. On the other hand making lightwell a purely passive healing mechanic would also be less than ideal. My modest proposal is that the priest can place it wherever she pleases and whenever she clicks it, it puts the HoT on the lowest-health person within range. The range can be rather small, so that positioning of the Lightwell and timing of clicks matters a lot. I think this strikes a good balance between keeping the healing within the hands of the priest while still not making it "free healing" (in terms of mental resources).
  • Renew. I'd like to see Renew strengthened for discipline priests, even if it means something else is reduced a bit in effectiveness. Maybe that's not a great suggestion from a min/max standpoint (generally, you do better if you have one or two god-level spells with everything else crap--since you can bias your casting patterns to favoring those great spells--than if you can do everything at a mild level) but I really would like to have a HoT that is useful more than once per five hours of raid time, just from a play-style enjoyment level. I find the very, very rare use for it here and there, but it's generally not even worth thinking about for discipline. I'd like to use it more.
  • Prayer of Mending. If it sits on someone for a certain length of time (like 10 seconds) without that person taking any damage, let it jump as normal but without doing any healing on the jump. There's something very frustrating about seeing a Prayer of Mending die on someone. You definitely should be trying to intelligently choose targets such that you maximize its chances of jumping, but that still doesn't always avoid the Prayer of Mending dead ends. By preventing it from healing when it "duration jumps," you still lose some of its effectiveness, keeping intact the incentive to choose targets wisely.

What spells do you use the least?

  • Holy Nova (just a novelty spell at present...I amuse myself by spamming it on Eyes of Occu'thar phases in Baradin Hold. It also totally won the Molten Core dailies, tagging mobs and healing up the quest mobs that you need to heal for one of the dailies. No true raid value, though.)
  • All the usual suspects--Mind Soothe, Mind Vision, Shackle Undead

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