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Holy Priest State in Shadowlands Alpha - Lackluster GCDs, Covenant Abilities, Toolkit Changes
2020/06/10 시간 01:14
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Thanks to Sylvanas Windrunner, the veil between Azeroth and the realm of death has been shattered threatening the cosmic balance between life and death. On April 9th, the Shadowlands were flooded with the Champions of Azeroth as select players were invited to the Alpha test for World of Warcraft's next expansion. As adventurers explore the Shadowlands and the covenants that are core to this new realm, players learn that the machine of death has broken. This realm we become a part of is in desperate need of mending and the mechanism of death must be restored if we are to bring balance back to the Shadowlands. Who better to do that than healers? We've been bringing back players from the brink of death and resurrecting our allies for years. It's time we take our gifts to the Shadowlands.
In this episode of the state of healers series, we'll explore Shadowlands Holy Priests and see how these devoted followers of the spiritual use their unwavering faith in the light and holy fury to keep their allies in the battle far beyond their normal capacity with their array of healing powers.
Previous Articles in the Series:
Restoration DruidMistweaver Monk
Currently all classes with their updated toolkits are able to be tested, but so much has changed with each healer on a base level and the introduction of covenants adds a completely new twist and set of tools for each class. Moreover, we have still yet to see the full toolkits for healers as soulbinds, conduits, and legendaries have yet to be tested. Additionally, only a limited amount of content is available for testing including the
저주받은 자의 탑 토르가스트
, and 3 leveling dungeons (
티르너 사이드의 안개
). The types of encounters have just as much of an impact on healer balance as the toolkits of the healers themselves.
Although we don't have the entirety of healing toolkits and Shadowlands content to test, we can and
still offer feedback on the current state of healers on the Alpha. This series will attempt to give a first look at each healer specialization in Shadowlands and hopefully provide early feedback on the current changes including baseline toolkits, covenants, and even the hot topic of abilities that feel lackluster still on the GCD.
Previous articles (ie.
) ranked healers according to desirability in previous raid tiers. While those articles were helpful especially for new and returning healers to determine what healers would be in high demand, it's nearly impossible to determine any sort of ranking or demand this early in development of Shadowlands due to how much is still unknown or in flux regarding healing.
Remember, this is only my opinion on healers so far in Shadowlands and primarily comes from a PvE point of view. Everyone should provide as much constructive feedback as possible. As always, the information presented here is based on the 9.0 Alpha cycle as of this article's release date and thus will almost certainly be inaccurate when the Shadowlands officially launches. Expect lots of changes to classes, covenants, soulbinds, conduits, legendaries, items, and encounters between now and launch. It should be noted that we're trying to hit the
changes to each class, yet for the sake of brevity we won't cover every single spell differential or mana cost reduction. If you're interested in the entirety of the spell differentials for each class please see the Class Change link listed at the top of the section for each class.
About the Author
This article is written by
a veteran healer and contributing writer to both World of Warcraft content and other Blizzard games content here on Wowhead. I've been raiding in WoW for almost 15 years at various levels of progression. I've contributed to the theorycrafting of multiple healing classes, notably Mistweaver Monks and Restoration Druids. Find me on
or on the
, Healer for
on EU-Twisting Nether, author of the
He is also the Host of the official World of Warcraft
Mythic Dungeon International
events. You can catch Jak on
and streaming on
Priest Class Changes
Because we don't have a lot of Shadowlands content to test, we'll be primarily be looking at how Holy Priests have changed since Battle for Azeroth, especially in the stripped down world of healing sans Azerite, Essences, and Corruption. The additional systems of Battle for Azeroth didn't largely change Holy Priest healing playstyle of utilizing lesser healing spells to reduce the cooldown of their more powerful Holy Words. However, in late BFA the
형언할 수 없는 진실
Corruption did offer a unique way to double down on reducing the cooldowns of Holy Words to provide strong throughput albeit with significantly more RNG. While
형언할 수 없는 진실
is a strong option currently, more traditional stat based healing remains very competitive with
형언할 수 없는 진실
. In Shadowlands, the Holy Word gameplay loop remains intact with a few additions to base toolkit largely in the form of damage changes.
Baseline Toolkit Changes
New Baseline Holy Priest Abilities
어둠의 권능: 고통
어둠의 권능: 죽음
- This array of damaging abilities offers up additional damage to Holy Priests that invest time in dealing damage. How much more damage and whether we'll use all these abilities will mostly depend on final tuning. More ways to contribute to the group is nice, but requiring a completely active damaging playstyle means that Discipline's passive damage contributions may overshadow Holy for another expansion if healer damage contributions remain a major factor in Shadowlands.
- After being relegated to a talent in Legion, this ability returns baseline to the class. While not super compelling as an instant cast on cooldown type of ability, it offers decent throughput and some much needed mobility to a fairly stationary healer. Ideally, I'd like to see this have some interaction with the Holy Word playstyle or something added to help differentiate it from
신의 권능: 보호막
- This instant cast absorb returns to Holy complete with
. The power of absorbs vs. actual healing can't be overstated so it's nice to see this ability return, but unless you absolutely need the absorb then
tends to be more efficient at almost half the mana cost of
신의 권능: 보호막
and with the added benefit of reducing the cooldown of
빛의 권능: 신성화
- After its removal in Mists of Pandaria,
returns. While it was extremely niche in most situations, it might possibly have renewed use in Mythic+ as skips can be highly valued. i don't expect this one to be cast very often, but I'm sure we'll see a video of a
skip in Shadowlands at some point.
- The haste steroid returns as a baseline ability and can now be cast on any player rather than just the Priest. An interesting piece of utility that I'm sure everyone in your raid/party will be clamoring for during their cooldowns. Expect juicy bribes on farm content. With the removal of the mana cost reduction, you'll probably see a greater mix of targets than just the priest.
Shadowlands Leveling Perks
Rank 2 (Level 17)
Fade now reduces the range at which enemies will attack you when used while active.
is meant as a group-wide aggro radius reduction, then this perk is the personal version. Niche perk at best but I'm sure someone will find a use for it somewhere.
Rank 2 (Level 54)
Mass Dispel is now potent enough to remove some Magic that is normally undispellable.
As something that already exists in the live game, it seems weird to remove this for the prepatch just to re-add it as a leveling perk for Shadowlands. On the plus side, you'll likely see this used more often in PvE content such as removing
죽음과 한 몸
저주받은 자 사델
Rank 2 (Level 48)
Reduces the global cooldown of your Holy Nova by 0.5 sec.
The Holy Priest strobe light just got a whole lot more spammy. Overall not a huge change, but a nice quality of life one. Brings the spell up to near
levels of damage. This perk creates an issue for AoE damage where you now choose between the player-centered
with a mana cost and miniscule healing or the target-centered
that's free but does not offer healing.
Rank 2 (Level 48)
Prayer of Mending is now instant cast.
Fantastic change that returns
to a better feeling spell. It may not seem like much but offers up another GCD of mobility to a fairly stationary healer. Ideally, I'd also like to add
cooldown reduction for
빛의 권능: 신성화
to this perk as well so that
isn't in competition with
Reworked Holy Priest Abilities
신의 권능: 인내
Infuses the target with vitality, increasing their Stamina by 10%5% for 1 hour.
Already the least mandatory buff, cutting
신의 권능: 인내
in half makes it feel even less mandatory, but will still be a nice buff when you can bring a priest.
Consumes the enemy in Holy flames that cause (50%150% of Spell power) Holy damage and an additional (57.75% of Spell power) Holy damage over 7 sec.
Holy (Level 36): Stacks up to 1 times
Cast Time changed from Instant to 1.5 sec cast
All the cooldown reset functionality has been removed from
meaning it's a much more straightforward fire on cooldown ability for Holy Priests wanting to do damage. Because the DoT no longer stacks and the cooldown can't be reset, the base damage has been significantly increased. The cast time means you'll have to commit to a full stationary GCD to the ability.
The base toolkit for Holy Priest hasn't changed significantly in Shadowlands. From a raiding perspective, this lack of change makes sense as they've always been a strong throughput healer throughout all of BFA. The major issue with Holy Priest is it often is overshadowed by the absorbs, passive damage, and damage reduction cooldowns of Discipline Priest. And unless something major changes with Soulbinds, Conduits, Legendaries, and any other remaining spell changes, then it's likely that might be the case for Shadowlands as well. All the extra utility that Holy Priests received is also being gained by Discipline and Shadow as well. There's nothing gained that's uniquely Holy which seems to be a bit of a shame.
The largest change will be the shear volume of new spells that Holy Priests can utilize to do damage should they invest significant time in dealing damage. It remains to be seen how many of these abilities will become part of the core DPS rotation, but there's definite potential.
The biggest letdown of the entire baseline toolkit changes is the general lack of support for Mythic+ which is an area that Holy Priest has struggled since the inception of the dungeon mode. While they did get skip potential with
, Holy Priest has also struggled with single target throughput for quite some time. There was a small boost to the spell power coefficient for
, but I'd have liked to see more to really bring them up as a contender for a strong dungeon healer.
Increases the duration of Spirit of Redemption by 50% and increases the range of your healing spells while in Spirit of Redemption by 30%.
As one of the least picked talents for Holy Priests, it's nice to see this one get some love in the form of a range increase for the stationary
. However, this change doesn't really address the issue with this talent row and
in general. Both
have to compete with the pure throughput of
. In almost all situations
's extra healing will be valuable. For
to be valuable you have to make considerable use of
for single target healing. While that sounds easy, you tend to save
to work around your tank's cooldowns, and you only get the benefit if you don't save the target from death. With
, you only benefit from this talent if you die and you generally don't want to plan on dying in most situations. If
, then you could at least make more strategic use of this ability as a way to extend a pseudo-
without the downside of permanent death upon leaving
Using Circle of Healing reduces the cast time of your Prayer of Healing by 30% for 8 sec.
Tier 5 Talent, in place of
into an activator that boosts burst AoE healing. I generally like this talent as a way to quickly get out some fast
, but without any mana cost reduction you could find yourself struggling for mana if you get too carried away.
The Holy Priest talent tree didn't receive a ton of changes, but I really would have like to see more especially in the way of making Holy Priest more competitive in Mythic+. I think there's a perfect opportunity for making
baseline and adding something for Holy Priest's struggling single target healing. Perhaps something that gives greater access to
빛의 권능: 평온
could go a long way in Mythic+, think
기적을 행하는 자
but with a 15s cooldown reduction for
빛의 권능: 평온
- Due to
's short cooldown, you'll utilize a combination of
to heal and build up stacks culminating in a huge detonation of healing via
increasing based on the number of stacks built. Ideally, I'd like to see
build stacks based on the number of players healed or enemies hit (whichever is higher), but overall the numbers on this one for a 3min cooldown are pretty strong as long as you can hit a majority of players with the
and the final
. At 3 minutes, this is basically another healer raid cooldown which is strong but for a class that already has two raid cooldowns with
빛의 권능: 구원
this might feel like overkill.
- The steward offers some quality of life options like free talent changes or a vendor to sell things, but it essentially boils down to
, a glorified healthstone for all intents and purposes. The healing will be nice and contribute albeit minimally to throughput, and the personal bleed, curse, and poison dispel for Holy Priests could come in handy as you can't normally dispel those; however, the circumstances where the phial will be invaluable will be few and far between compared to other covenant abilities which are more universally valuable.
- A cool idea of turning an enemy against themselves and utilizing their damage to heal is awesome. I dream of a world where I can turn
against him to heal the raid, but I feel like the limitations on this one are just too difficult to overcome. For starters there's no upfront healing, so you'll only get roughly 400% spell power worth of healing and 4% of mana from the damage conversion out of each 45s use. Compare that to the massive amounts of AoE healing you'll get from the other covenant abilities and this one starts to feel a bit small potatoes. Interesting concept, but the numbers need to be there as well.
- Quite possibly the star of the covenant signature abilities, it's hard to say no to a 35yd teleport with a minute cooldown even if it has a 1.5s cast time. This type of movement is almost universally valuable and it's hard to think of an occasion where it'd be useless. Full Venthyr dungeon groups can plan skips around this ability. As a Holy Priest, I will never say no mobility.
- A massive 15yd AoE heal that also infects enemies with an AoE DoT with a
-like healing component. As of the current build, they've nerfed the healing from striking enemies with
down to 12% spell power, but because there's no internal cooldown and every damaging event including DoTs counts, the healing especially in AoE situations is still absolutely massive. Combine this with a short 1 min cooldown and a 15s
duration and I'm sold.
- This extra self survivability will be nice and as an absorb will contribute minimally to overall throughput, but where this one loses me is the 4s channel. Holy Priests already know how impossible it can sometimes be to find the perfect opportunity to channel a full
. Adding another long channel to our toolkit is not exactly something we want. I would really like to see the channel time reduced or allowing this ability to channel while moving would go a long way to making this ability more palatable. Even with those changes it's a bit of a hard sell against the other movement oriented covenant signature abilities.
- While the other Covenant abilities focus more on raw throughput,
is primarily focused on utility. The 10% damage reduction from
could be strong in Mythic+. If you plan your spell usage correctly, you can keep the 10% damage reduction rolling on your tank and another target for 1min and 15s out of every 1.5 mins, an 83% uptime. While it's not much, for Holy Priest without any traditional damage reduction cooldowns it can amount to a lot. Where I start to become skeptical on this ability is the remaining two benefits. Because
신의 권능: 보호막
still has the
effect for Holy and no way to bypass it, you'll likely be using this on a few different targets so at best 200% resource or 20% mana spread over a few different targets. While that can be helpful, the granted mana hardly pays for the 3.4% mana cost for each
신의 권능: 보호막
paid by the Priest. So you're actually losing mana in the process of granting it to other healers so not actually generating additional healing from this ability. It's more efficient to generate resource and therefore damage but how much damage is questionable, especially when you consider that you're not picking another covenant ability which has damage baked into the cast so you're already losing out on that. Finally, the
benefit grants the 5 targets 3s off one of their major abilities. In total that's 2.5 mins worth of cooldown reduction spread across the
targets. That sure sounds powerful but let's try to remember some things.
hits the player you target and 4 other near allies making it difficult to select who is getting the cooldown reduction.
costs 5% mana meaning that 10 casts will cost a Holy Priest half their mana bar resulting in some expensive cooldown reduction. Is it worth it considering how much throughput both healing and damage that Holy Priests are sacrificing by not choosing another covenant? For me it's just not worth it. I'm sure you'll see videos of a Priest reducing cooldowns or granting resource here and there for the spectacle, but it's just not a realistic scenario.
As someone who adored
, it's nice to see this come back as an option although more watered down. Blinks and teleports are universally valuable and while it might not be the Venthyr ability this is a strong second place option. You likely won't be coming up with skips for such a limited 10 yard blink, but you get 3 in the 12s duration so you may have some opportunities to blink over some particularly nasty mechanics. It should be noted that you can cast while shapeshifted. Comes with a cosmetic collecting minigame which is fantastic.
We don't have the full class toolkit yet with soulbinds, conduits, and legendaries still to be released, so it's hard to make a clear choice right now as to what covenant is the best and for what type of content. However, if I had to pick one now based solely on the information we have on Alpha I think I'd be hardpressed not to pick
for Holy Priests. Both
are versatile healing tools due to either scaling with the increased number of allies in raids or the large number of enemies in Mythic+. Unfortunately, both covenants have somewhat lower tier signature abilities, but for how powerful the covenant abilities are you can't go wrong with either.
- Even after spending this GCD, you'll still need to use multiple healing spells to reap the benefits of
cooldown reduction. If you need healing now and fast then this ability helps but doesn't get there without some delays making this GCD feel even worse. If a lot of the power of this cooldown is going to be delayed behind Holy Word cooldowns then taking
off the GCD makes sense. Alternatively, add some of that power upfront to make the GCD feel more powerful. Having
instantly reset the cooldowns of your
would go a long way in making this GCD feel impactful. Nearly back-to-back
빛의 권능: 평온
is a powerful dungeon tool.
- With the return of
마나 해일 토템
starts to feel like a much worse ability.
마나 해일 토템
always regens a consistent 6.4% of max mana, doesn't require a channel, and has a 3 min cooldown. You can use this ability immediately early in an encounter to maximize the number of uses and no mana is wasted as long as all healers don't cap on mana.
is a 5s channel, returns a max 12% of missing mana, and has a 5 minute cooldown. Because it's based on missing mana, you'll likely only get one use out of this ability. While I can appreciate that differently abilities should have different functionality I think the disparity is a bit too far in this circumstance and something needs to be done to make
feel better to press and channel.
- With the return of
, there's been some concern about whether it would be on the GCD or not. Before it's removal at the start of BFA it was intended to be placed on the GCD, but due to it's removal this never occurred. With its return in Shadowlands,
remains off the GCD. For parity with abilities like
, it probably should be placed on the GCD, but I urge developers to reconsider this and so many other abilities. With
once again being allowed to be used on any ally player, the Priest shouldn't have to pay the GCD cost for another player to have fun.
Mythic+ Viability - While there are a lot of factors that determine how well a spec performs in Mythic+ (utility, damage, single target throughput, etc.), I'd really appreciate if future development could be focused on helping Holy Priests become stronger and more relevant in dungeon content. I know it's a big ask and there isn't an exact solution, but perhaps the additional systems of Shadowlands could really offer some more tools for Holy Priests. Holy Priest has always felt like the fairly straightforward healer and many people looking to learn healing tend to use Holy Priest as their gateway specialization. While that tends to work out in raid, for a lot of players the spec tends to let them down in dungeon content causing players to feel forced to class swap to feel more viable.
Overshadowed by Discipline - The issues with Holy for a lot of BFA had nothing to do with Holy's failing and more to do with it just not being Discipline. Discipline brings passive damage, absorbs, and damage reduction; all of which are highly valued in the current healing meta. While I can appreciate Shadowlands increased focus on class identity instead of spec identity, I would like to see Holy step out of Discipline's shadow for once and be able to stand strong on its own benefits and merits. Make the choice between the specializations more meaningful instead of a default answer.
- While it's cool to be able to move your allies across the field of battle, I miss the added mobility of Reverse Life Grip allowing you to grip yourself to an allies position. While I think it'd be super similar to Druid's
, perhaps we can give it a more
-like functionality that causes the two players to meet in the middle.
That's a wrap for now for Holy Priest. I hope you enjoyed the breakdown. More Shadowlands healer breakdowns will be coming very soon so stay tuned to Wowhead.
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