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Priest Changes in Warlords of Draenor

As you likely know by now, Warlords of Draenor was released on November 13, 2014. You got access to those ten new levels, Garrisons, new this, new that, a lot of Orcs, and so on. One thing you didn’t get is a whole bunch of new abilities. In fact, you’re going to lose a few and a number of others will be changed.

You got a few new talents, though, and gained various “Perks.”

In general, Priests received several significant changes, mainly focused on reining in Discipline’s damage absorption shields, improving quality of life for Discipline and Holy specializations, and solving single-target damage issues for Shadow. All of the new abilities will be tested and we’ll eventually get an idea if those “improvements” really did the trick. It should also result in cleaner action bars and smoother rotations.

Skip to: Patch 6.1 changes — StatsAbility ChangesTalentsGlyphsPerks


Priests in Patch 6.1

A bunch of talent changes, but very little to other abilities, with the exception of:


Level 45: 

Level 60: 

Level 90: 

  • Cascade may now hit the same target twice. This results in an increase to total healing, so its healing has been reduced by 35% to compensate (the total healing in a 20-player raid will be slightly higher than before.)
  • Divine Star (Shadow) damage increased by 20%.
  • Halo now displays an indicator on the ground to make it easier for the casting Priest see where the ability is most effective. Additionally, Halo’s visual effect has been synchronized so a character will receive the effect when the nova intersects with them.

Level 100:

  • Auspicious Spirits (Shadow) no longer cause Shadowy Apparitions to not deal damage. Instead, it now increases Shadowy Apparition damage by 100% in addition to still granting 1 Shadow Orb.
  • Clarity of Purpose‘s (Holy) healing has increased by 20%.
  • Saving Grace‘s (Discipline, Holy) healing has increased by 50%, but now reduces future healing dealt by 15% (up from 10%.) Additionally, the talent is now Instant,but its effectiveness is reduced while in PvP combat.
  • Void Entropy (Shadow) damage increased by 80%.



Stat Changes That Came with Warlords

A new Troll Priest for Warlords of DraenorHit and Expertise are being removed and so are the abilities that deal with those stats. Reforging is also being removed, so that rouite to finely tweaking your stats will be gone.

Intellect no longer provides an increased chance to critically strike with spells, but all classes have, at least, a base chance of 5% to crit.

The new stats that have been added are Versatility and Multistrike. There was going to be a Readiness stat, which would lower cooldowns, but that has been slain.

Also, all specs (of all classes) will be getting a 5% bonus to what Bliz feels is their their #1 secondary stat. The bonus takes the form of a passive ability gained at level 90.  For Priests those stats are as follows:

  • Discipline: Critical Strike – Critical Strike Attunement – +10% Crit to Prayer of Healing, otherwise +5% from all sources.
  • Holy: Multistrike – Divine Providence – +5% Multistrike from all sources and +25% damage, healing, and absorption from all Multistrikes.
  • Shadow: Haste – Haste Attunement – Just 5% more Haste from all sources.


Priestly Ability Changes

As you glance below you’ll notice that there are quite a few changes. Some of those changes are to general abilities, used by all Priests, and others to only one or two of the three specs. Some abilities have been restricted to use by only one or two specs. And, of course, some have been slain outright. There have also been a bunch of tweaks to the various talents, esp. the level 90 row. See the talent section below for more detail on those changes.

Dead Abilities

  • Hymn of Hope has been removed.
  • The old “Heal” has been removed, but Greater Heal has been renamed to Heal.
  • Inner Fire has been removed.
  • Inner Focus has been removed.
  • Inner Will has been removed.
  • Psyfiend has been removed.
  • Rapture has been removed.
  • Strength of Soul has been removed.
  • Train of Thought has been removed.
  • Void Shift has been removed.

Changed and Restricted Priestly Abilities

For Priests the ability pruning focuses on removing redundant off-role abilities, trimming cooldowns, and removing niche abilities. The end result is intended to to clean up the action bars, smooth out rotations, and so on. Also some of the changes are to get abilities to better line up with the removed stats (Hit, Exp, an no more reforging) and the new stats: Versatility and Multistrike.

Priest Higher Efficiency: Greater Heal, Circle of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Holy Nova (new Discipline-only version), Penance
Priest Higher Throughput: Flash Heal, Prayer of Healing

  • Fem. Dwarf Priest says to pay attention!Power Word: Shield may now critically strike or Multistrike. Power Word: Shield now has a chance for a critical effect based on critical strike chance and can Multistrike based on Multistrike chance for all specializations.
  • Cascade now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast) for Discipline and Holy, it is unchanged for Shadow.
  • Halo now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast) for Discipline and Holy, it is unchanged for Shadow.
  • Prayer of Mending now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast) for all specs. Prayer of Mending from multiple Priests can now be on the same target, and can be on multiple targets from the same Priest.
  • Binding Heal is now only available to Holy Priests.
  • Renew is now available only to Holy Priests.
  • Greater Heal has been renamed to Heal.
  • Holy Fire now lasts 9 seconds (up from 7 seconds).
  • Evangelism is now available only to Discipline Priests.
  • Borrowed Time’s effects have been merged into baseline Power Word: Shield for Discipline Priests.
  • Borrowed Time has also been redesigned. It now increases the Priest’s stat gains to Haste from all sources by 40% for 6 seconds.
  • Shadow Word: Death is now available only to Shadow Priests.
  • Focused Will now triggers from any damage taken instead of being limited to being the victim of any damage above 5% of total health or being critically hit by non-periodic attacks.
  • Shadowfiend no longer restores mana.
  • Silence is now available to both Discipline and Shadow Priests.
  • Shadow Word: Pain’s initial damage is now considered direct damage, not periodic damage, and Shadow’s Shadowy Apparitions and Shadowy Insight are no longer able to trigger from this initial direct damage.

Priest Crowd Control effects

In general, Bliz is working hard to contain the “Crowd Control” abilities for all classes. Here are some of the changes to CC for your Priest.

  • Dominate Mind now shares Diminishing Returns with all other Mesmerize effects.
  • Holy Word: Chastise now shares Diminishing Returns with all other Mesmerize effects.
  • Psychic Horror now shares Diminishing Returns with all other Mesmerize effects.
  • Psychic Scream is now a level-15 talent, replacing Psyfiend, and has a 45-second cooldown (up from 30 seconds).
  • Rapture no longer has any effect beyond removing the cooldown of Power Word: Shield.
  • Void Tendrils’ Root effect now has a chance to break if the target takes sufficient damage.

Discipline Priest Changes

  • Enlightenment is a new passive ability for Discipline Priests. Enlightenment increases the critical healing chance of Prayer of Mending by 10%, and increases stat gains to Critical Strike from all sources by 5%.
  • Divine Aegis no longer grants Power Word: Shield a chance to critically strike.
  • Pain Suppression no longer reduces the target’s threat by 5%. With tanks having increased threat generation this should be of no concern.
  • Evangelism no longer affects the damage or mana cost of spells. Damage of affected spells have been adjusted to compensate.
  • Spirit Shell is now a level-75 talent, replacing Divine Insight for Discipline Priests. The latter is now only available to Holy Priests.
  • Holy Nova is no longer available through a Major Glyph, and is instead a Discipline specialization spell gained at level 20. Its mana cost has been lowered and its healing increased. It is intended as the efficient area-of-effect (AoE) healing spell for Discipline Priests.

Holy Priest Changes

For Holy Priests, our biggest concern is with the Chakras. We think that Chakras are the defining abilities of Holy Priests, but that they haven’t lived up to their potential. We decided to move more of their effectiveness from their raw throughput buff (which felt like a penalty for being in the wrong chakra, rather than a bonus for being in the right Chakra) into their bonus effects, and the Holy Word spells that they grant. Please note that all Priest healing spells have been retuned to account for the loss of throughput increases from Chakras. We also returned Renew to a normal 1.5-second global cooldown (GCD), so that Renew blanketing is still possible, but less ideal without Haste. Finally, the ability for Power Word: Shield to critically strike or Multistrike is now baseline for all Priest specializations instead of just Discipline so that it continues to be a viable choice for Holy at higher gear levels.

  • Divine Fury has been removed. Since Hit and Expertise are being removed this ability no longer is useful. Similar abilities have been removed from other Priests and from all other classes.
  • Divine Providence is a new passive ability, gained at level 90, for Holy Priests and it increases the amount of the Multistrike stat gains from all sources by 5%, and increases the damage and healing of Multistrikes by 20%.
  • Cascade no longer refreshes the duration of Renew for Chakra: Serenity.
  • Chakra: Chastise no longer grants a chance for Smite to reset Holy Word: Chastise’s cooldown.
  • Chakra: Sanctuary no longer increases healing of area-of-effect spells. It now causes healing spell casts to reduce the remaining cooldown on Circle of Healing by 1 second instead of always reducing the cooldown by 2 seconds.
  • Chakra: Serenity no longer increases healing of single-target spells.
  • Holy Word: Sanctuary now heals for 60% more than before.
  • Holy Word: Serenity now heals for 40% more than before.
  • Circle of Healing‘s cooldown is now 12 seconds (up from 10 seconds).
  • Purify, Halo, Cascade, and Divine Star can now be cast while in Spirit of Redemption form.
  • Rapid Renewal no longer reduces the global cooldown of Renew.
  • Lightwell’s healing effect is no longer canceled if the target takes enough damage.
  • Divine Hymn now heals all party or raid members instead of a variable number depending on raid size. Its healing has been adjusted to compensate.

Shadow Priest Changes

Shadow Priests had one large problem toward the end of Mists of Pandaria: single-target damage. Their AoE and multi-DoT damage was some of the best around, so they still ended up competitive on most fights. But, in any fight that was mostly single-target, they felt lacking. Additionally, one of the new stats we’re adding in Warlords of Draenor, Multistrike, is almost exactly what their current Mastery, Shadowy Recall, does for DoTs. So, we took these two problems and came up with a change that we think will solve both of them. The result is a new Mastery, which primarily increases single-target damage. Shadow Priests who want to focus on single-target damage can aim for Mastery in their gearing; or, when multi-dotting is more valuable, prefer other secondary stats over Mastery.

  • Shadow Priest’s Mastery (Shadowy Recall) has been replaced with a new Mastery: Mental Anguish, which increases the damage of Mind Blast, Mind Spike, Mind Flay, and Mind Sear by 20%.
  • Base mana regeneration rate for Shadow Priests has been increased by 200%, Shadow Word: Pain and Vampiric Touch mana costs have been reduced by 50% to compensate.
  • Speaking of SW: P, your Shadowy Apparitions and Shadowy Insight are no longer able to trigger from the initial direct damage of that ability.
  • Spiritual Precision has been removed, since with the removal of Hit and Expertise it’s no longer useful. Similar abilities have been removed from other Priests and from all other classes.
  • Mind Quickening (your 5% Haste raid buff) now also grants 5% Multistrike.
  • The cooldown of Mind Blast has also been adjusted (increased from 8 to 9 seconds) to make Haste more valuable for Shadow and remove Haste breakpoints. Haste will reduce the cooldown.
  • Devouring Plague now always costs 3 Shadow Orbs and now heals the Priest for 100% of all damage it deals, instead of healing per tick.
  • Shadowform no longer allows any healing spells to be cast, but also no longer has a restriction on casting other Holy spells.
  • Vampiric Embrace now heals all party and raid members for 10% of damage done, and this healing is no longer split between targets (up from 75% of damage done, split between targets).
  • Dispersion and Vampiric Touch no longer restore your mana.
  • Devouring Plague now heals for 2% of maximum health per tick (up from 1%).


New Priest Talents and a few Changes

See the bottom of the section for the new talents, or this post for all of the new level 100 talents.

As for the rest, Bliz has some things to say about Atonement healing and the level 90 talents and that’s something that will be the focus of a lot of tweaking.

Atonement was the original damage-to-healing conversion ability, but grew out of control during Mists of Pandaria. We decided to reduce its effectiveness, to bring it more in line with our goal of it being an option to trade significant healing for significant damage (ending up somewhere between a full healer and a full damage dealer). Another place where Discipline’s absorbs were too strong was in their interaction with the level-90 Talents, especially in large Raids. Near the end of Mists of Pandaria, we uncapped the AoE healing of that Talent row; that has proven to be a mistake in Discipline’s case, not just because it caused the level-90 Talents themselves to heal for too much, but rather because the gigantic overhealing that that produced translated into gigantic Divine Aegis absorbs.

So here’s what they’re doing about that:

First off, your Atonement now heals for 25% less than before. Now for those pesky level 90 talents.

In the quest for better balance, Blizzard has reapplied the Area Effect caps to the level-90 Talents, making them consistent with all other AoE heals, and reduced their effectiveness across the board. They’ve compensated for this in the tuning of Priest baseline heals.

  • Cascade
    • Cascade’s Mana cost has been reduced by 67%.
    • Discipline and Holy: Cascade now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast,) heals for 50% less, and no longer damages enemies.
    • Shadow: Cascade no longer heals allies.
  • Divine Star
    • Divine Star’s Mana cost has been reduced by 67%, and now follows standard AoE capping rules.
    • Discipline and Holy: Divine Star now heals for 50% less, and no longer damages enemies.
    • Shadow: Divine Star no longer heals allies.
  • Halo
    • Halo’s Mana cost has been reduced by 67%, and now follows standard AoE capping rules.
    • Discipline and Holy: Halo now has a 1.5-second cast time (up from instant cast, see also: Instant Cast Heals), heals for 50% less, and no longer damages enemies.
    • Shadow: Halo no longer heals allies.

And the Other Talents:

Something that’s new, but sortof like the old talent trees, is that various talents are being split into different versions, depending on specialization.  For example, in the level 75 row, only Holy can get Divine Insight. Disc. gets Spirit Shell, and Shadow has Shadowy Insight. This isn’t a lot different from some talents in Mists, Divine Insight, as an example, that already had different effects for the different specs, but it makes things a bit clearer and is probably easier for the Devs to work with.

Of interest to leveling Priests, or those who do dedicated lower level PvP (and have turned off their XP gain) is that Bliz has swapped the Level-15 and Level-60 talent rows. They did this to make characters feel a bit more “Priestly” early on.

  • Divine Insight’s effects have been split based on specialization.
  • From Darkness, Comes Light has been split into two talents, depending on the Priest’s specialization.
    • Surge of Darkness (Shadow) now has a maximum of 3 charges (up from 2) and can now also trigger its effect from Devouring Plague, but its chance to trigger has been reduced to 10% (down from 20%) to compensate.
    • Surge of Light (Discipline, Holy) activation chance has been reduced to 8% 10% (down from 15%).
  • Power Infusion is the same for all Priest specs and now grants 25% Haste (up from 20%), but no longer increases damage (down from 5%).
  • Solace and Insanity has been split into…
    • Power Word: Solace for Discipline and Holy.
    • Insanity has been changed to cause consuming Shadow Orbs to transform Mind Flay into Insanity for 2 seconds per Shadow Orb consumed.
  • Twist of Fate (all specs) now only triggers from healing for Discipline and Holy Priests, and only triggers from damage for Shadow Priests.

And Some More Talent Changes

A little poking and tweaking in the hopes of evening some things out.

  • Angelic Feathers now increases movement speed by 60% (down from 80%). If cast on players, will always prefer the casting Priest over others, then pick the player closest to the targeted location. If there are no players where it is targeted, it will still create a feather that can be picked up, as before. Additionally, when collecting multiple feathers, the duration will be extended instead of replaced; up to a maximum of 130% of base duration.
  • Mindbender now restores 0.75% mana per hit (down from 1.75% mana).
  • Void Tendrils now have 10% of the Priest’s health (down from 20%), and damage dealt to the rooted target is now also dealt to the Void Tendril itself.

The Level 100 Talents

Aren’t these the ones that everyone really wants to know about? Similar to the earlier talents the different specs of Priest have access to different talents.

1st Talent:

2nd Talent:

  • Discipline and Holy Words of Mending: Heals and shields grant you stacks of “Word of Mending.” At ten stacks your next direct heal or shield also casts Prayer of Mending at the same target.
  • ShadowVoid Entropy: Consumes up to three Shadow Orbs to do damage over 60 seconds. Could be interesting in all longer fights. Not so hot for short fights (lasts too long,) but nice for duels & bosses.

3rd Talent

  • Discipline & HolySaving Grace: Instantly heal a friendly target for a big chunk of their max health, but your healing done is reduced by 10% for 10 seconds and this stacks up to ten times. Cast this one a few times and you won’t be doing much with the other heals. Might be worth it in some situations, such as when you need a big heal right now” and can afford the lessened heals afterwards.
  • ShadowAuspicious Spirits: Your Shadowy Apparitions grant 1 Shadow Orb instead of doing damage.


Priestly Glyphs

Learned while leveling

One of the interesting glyphs changes is that all classes will learn some of the glyphs as they level. Even if you “poof to 90” you will get these glyphs free, along will all the other abilities that you will learn. You still have to manually install the glyphs, but you won’t have to buy them.

All the other glyphs from still be picked up from the auction house or your friendly, neighborhood Scribe.

Some glyphs will also have categories. What this means for you is that you can only load one glyph at a time from any given category. As an example, Glyph of Shadow Magic and Glyph of Fade are (currently) in the same category, so you can’t load both.

The New Priest Glyphs!

Always subject to change, but here is what you have now, all of these are major glyphs:

Restricted Priest Glyphs

These three are Holy Only:

Shadow Only: Glyph of Shadow Word: Death

At this time there are no glyphs that are Discipline only.


Priestly Perks, Don’t call them Abilities

One of the goals of the ability pruning and restricting was to ease the “button bloat” (too many buttons) problem, so adding a bunch of new abilities after level 90 would be counter-productive. To get around this Blizzard has created “Perks.” These are enhancements to existing abilities, rather than new abilities. An example might be 20% more damage to your “Death and Destruction Spell.”

Another thing to note is that perks are learned randomly. Every time you learn a new perk it will be randomly chosen from the list of remaining perks. So you, at level 95, might well have entirely different perks from your buddy (who has the same class and spec.)

Earlier in the beta there were 9 perks per spec, now there are four. This may well change again before launch.

Discipline Holy Shadow
  1. Enhanced Power Word: Shield: Reduces the duration of the Weakened Soul caused by your Power Word: Shield by 5 sec.
  2. Enhanced Focused Will: Each application of Focused Will also increases your damage dealt by 5%.
  3. Empowered Archangel: The next Prayer of Healing you cast after activating Archangel has 100% increased critical strike chance.
  4. Enhanced Leap of Faith: Your Leap of Faith also increases your next non-periodic heal cast on that target by 50% for 10 sec.
  1. Enhanced Renew: Increases the duration of your Renew by 3 sec
  2. Enhanced Leap of Faith: Your Leap of Faith also increases your next non-periodic heal cast on that target by 50% for 10 sec.
  3. Enhanced Focused Will: Each application of Focused Will also increases your damage dealt by 5%.
  4. Enhanced Chakras: Reduces the cooldown on your Chakras by 20 sec.
  1. Enhanced Shadow Orbs: You may now have a maximum of 5 Shadow Orbs. No spell or ability will consume more than 3 orbs.
  2. Enhanced Shadow Word: Death: Shadow Word: Death now always generates a Shadow Orb, regardless of cooldown reset.
  3. Enhanced Mind Flay: Your Mind Flay deals damage 1/3 faster.
  4. Enhanced Power Word: Shield: Reduces the duration of Weakened Soul caused by your Power Word: Shield by 5 sec.

PvP Priests

There’s very little about the PvP game that’s aimed specifically at Priests beyond what you’ve seen above.

  • Resilience and battle fatigue (healing is no longer reduced in PvP) are going away, and player health will be increased to compensate.
  • Crit damage and Crit heals are both being reduced to 150% of the regular damage/healing in PvP.
  • In addition to health being doubled, mana is being doubled.
  • Consumables will now heal/restore twice as much as previously.
  • And, of course, Crowd Control is undergoing some changes.

With Hit and Expertise being removed you will hit your targets far more reliably than before (in same level PvP.) Characters with lots of dodge (eg: Rogues) will still be a bit harder to hit.


The Fast Priest Leveling Guide

Zygor's leveling guide showing the quest and who to look forWoW has about a bazillion quests and sometimes one is left with the question, “where to go… how do I find… what to do next…?” Especially if you haven’t already leveled several characters to the max.

Leveling your Priest, of any build, doesn’t have to be an exercise in frustration. Grab yourself a full blown leveling guide, like Zygor’s guide, and you will never again have to ask any of the “Where to go…” questions.

Zygor’s shows you the full step by step path all the way to the end, regardless of your starting point. This means that the guide knows where you are (zone and level) and updates your quests and directions as you move along (though it won’t play the game for you.)

Everything you need to know is contained within the guide and it’s displayed (in a moveable, resizeable window) on your main screen. You may never have to look at your quest log again, much less consult some website. It doesn’t matter whether you’re brand new to the World of Warcraft,  are decked head to toe in heirlooms, or have grabbed many levels in the dungeons or through PvP, Zygor has your back.

Also, even though you can now buy 90s at $60 a pop you still have those last ten levels to carve through. Plus, you might want the gold, rep, etc. that comes from doing those quests. Since Zygor’s is always quickly updated for all the latest patches and expansions it’ll never be obsolete.

Grab yourself a copy of Zygor’s Leveling guide (or first) and blast to level the level cap quickly and painlessly.

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