Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Discipline Priests Style-Nerfed Again

No, discipline priests weren't nerfed in power. Apparently, Blizzard decided that they were out of balance style-wise, as we've been seeing a steady stream of nerfs to the spell graphics for discipline priests.

It started a month or two ago when Blizzard style-nerfed Penance. Penance, aka the holy machine gun, aka the three shards of golden power, is a channeled heal that fires three blasts of holy power at a target, each one healing the target pretty significantly. It's a very noticeable spell and an iconic discipline priest spell. A further visual effect it had was to cause the target to flinch/jerk slightly upon impact of each golden shard.

Blizzard ended that, apparently permanently. I would explain the terrible ramifications of this, but Sanctùs on the official World of Warcraft forums described it best, with this instant classic:

Penance - 1. An act of self-mortification or devotion performed voluntarily to show sorrow for a sin or other wrongdoing.
2. A sacrament in some Christian churches that includes contrition, confession to a priest, acceptance of punishment, and absolution. Also called reconciliation.

Penanced - To impose penance upon.

What has happened to my Penance? 

I used to provide absolution for my tanks sins as evidenced by the wracking pains he suffered as acknowledment of his iniquities when I penanced him.  Now, my tank just stands there. No wracking pains, no self-mortification.  How is he supposed to receive absolution for his wrong-doings if he no longer has to suffer for them.  I can just see it now, drinking and cavorting with loose blood elfs on the weekends.  Why not he says, penance no longer causes him to suffer for these sins.  Lustful thoughts, no concern, penance is painless.  Coveting his off-tanks ass, no consequences from his spiritual savior.

I worry for the spiritual future of my tank if my I can no longer impose penance upon him with the least degree of suffering.  My tank needs to suffer for his heals, otherwise, he will continue to sin.  Next thing you know he'll be stacking stamina.

Bring back the suffering of my penanced tanks to ensure their salvation in the kingdom of god.

However, today's patch has revealed a new style nerf. Divine Aegis, a shield that procs around a target when the disco priest hits that target with a critical heal, has lost its translucent golden bubble visual. Instead it now looks like a standard Power Word: Shield.

Glowing Disco Ball

That's what Divine Aegis used to look like. This is what Power Word: Shield looks like, and what Divine Aegis now looks like:

Not Pictured: Broken-Hearted Disco Priest

I like the Power Word: Shield graphic. It looks magical and holy. But I also loved the Divine Aegis graphic, because putting people in bubbles was immensely satisfying. I did that.

I've gone through endless World of Log parses and cannot find justification for this change. Discipline priests were undoubtedly overpowered from a stylistic point of view, but rightly so. We're all about style and if you get healed in addition, great. More importantly, we raised raid morale with our spectacular beauty.

I'm sure Blizzard has its reasons and maybe we'll be seeing some style buffs in the coming months. That said, my soul weeps today. Translucent golden tears.

Update: It appears that this may be merely a bug, not an intended change. That, at least, is what a Blizzard blue on the EU forums suggests:  http://eu.battle.net/wow/en/forum/topic/2313881411#6. Call off the panic...for now!

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