Continuing with the Legion class previews, Blizzard talk more about the changes coming to World of Warcraft’s Priest class. Often aligned with holy powers, with a strong class fantasy of being healers, this identity doesn’t really fit for Discipline or Shadow Priests. In Legion, Blizzard want to give each spec its own identity, based on the source of each one’s power.
Back in Classic World of Warcraft, most Priests played as Holy. There were exceptions, but it was incredibly rare. Discipline wasn’t much more than a glorified buff spec, and Shadow had low DPS and no utility. Over time, this has changed somewhat, but regardless, there is a lot of space for improvement.
Come Legion, Holy Priests will be getting a more dynamic playstyle focused around ‘Holy Words’. These are new spells with huge effects and long base cooldowns, which can be reduced with the passive effect on Serendipity. What’s more, Holy Priests will no longer be able to use Shadow spells, and instead will use Smite, Holy Fire, and the like to deal any damage they might need to.
Shadow Priests are receiving, arguably, the most interesting changes. At present they’re often compared with Affliction Warlocks more often than not and it is a spec with a troubled history. Shadow Priests have been useless, mana batteries, pretty decent, useful for buffs, and not so good, but going forward, the spec will be refocused.
Mana is no more, instead, Shadow Priests draw their power from the Old Gods, an opposite to the divine power of Holy Priests. This will grant them use of a new resource instead: Insanity, which can be built up with Mind Blast, Shadow Word: Pain, and Vampiric Touch, and upon reaching full Insanity, the Priest will transform from Shadowform into Voidform, increasing their Void magic temporarily, though gameplay will be focused around trying to maintain Voidform for as long as possible.
The only heal spells Shadow Priests will have in their toolbox going forward will be the likes of Power Word: Shield and Shadow Mend, having completely turned their backs on the Light.
By no means least, however, Discipline Priests will no longer play the role of absorption healers. Instead, their focus will come from Atonement. That is, healing via damage dealing.
Discipline Priests will lose some of their healing ability and have a reduced focus on absorption, however, their damage capabilities will be improving significantly. They will still be healers in group content, but now, Discipline Priests will need to balance healing the group with damaging enemies, which will also heal allies. It sounds as though it could be a very fun playstyle.
Is it obvious that I’m biased towards Shadow? These are fantastic changes for Priests across the board, and something that has been needed for the past 11 years now. Can’t wait to see how Priests play come Legion! I may even try out Discipline having loved the playstyle of Chloromancer in Rift.
Source: WoW Class Preview BlogRelated: Blizzard Entertainment, Classes, Expansion, Legion, MMORPG, News, World of Warcraft