We continue our early look at class and specialization design with the Priest. In these blogs, we’ll be exploring class identity, discussing Legion’s new designs, and presenting core combat abilities for each specialization—laying out the foundation upon which talents and Artifacts will build further. With that in mind, let’s delve into what it means to be a Priest in World of Warcraft.
Priests have a strong identity as spiritual practitioners who harness divine power to inspire and protect allies, heal the injured, and cure the ailed. But while this clearly holds true for Holy Priests, these ideas are less fundamental to Discipline Priests—and the ideals and beliefs of Shadow Priests are antithetical to those of Holy Priests.
Despite these differences, Priests of any spec share one key thing in common: unwavering faith in something from which they draw great power. What delineates specializations is the source of that power. In Legion, we’re going to explore that dichotomy in greater depth than ever through the gameplay for each specialization.
After spending much of their lives in temples studying ancient doctrine, preaching the tenets of their faith, and pledging their full devotion to the divine powers they follow, the most adept priests leave their houses of worship to serve on the battlefield, as shepherd to flock. There, they use their holy powers to bless allies and mend wounds. And while most stay behind the frontlines to aid their comrades, these holy champions are also capable of smiting foes and carrying out sacred justice. They’re also morally opposed to the use of Shadow and Void magic—rather, they are exemplars of the incredible grace and power of the divine and the Light, and even death cannot fully stop their healing capabilities.
"The most adept priests leave their houses of worship to serve on the battlefield, as shepherd to flock"
Given the innate purity of the spec, we want to ensure that Holy Priests continue to have a large repertoire of compelling healing spells. The Chakra system was cumbersome, requiring additional setup to optimally use most spells and restricting how much you could fluidly shift between healing methods. We have removed it in favor of a more dynamic play style focused around Holy Words. New Holy Word spells are designed to feel absolutely miraculous, having huge effects balanced with long base cooldowns. The new passive effect of Serendipity allows those long base cooldowns to be reduced, letting you use them more frequently. Finally, in keeping with the resolute beliefs of the Holy Priest, they can make no use of Shadow spells. Smite, Holy Fire, and Holy Word: Chastise are the instruments used by Holy Priests to inflict damage upon their enemies.
Here’s a basic look at the core combat healing abilities for Holy Priests:
- 2.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 2.5 sec cast
- A slow but efficient spell that heals an ally for a moderate amount.
- Flash Heal
- 3.5% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
- A fast but expensive spell that heals an ally for a moderate amount.
- Holy Word: Serenity
- 4.0% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant, 1 min cooldown
- Perform a miracle, healing an ally for an absolutely massive amount.
- Prayer of Healing
- 8.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 2.5 sec cast
- A powerful prayer that heals up to 5 injured allies within 15 yards of the target for a strong amount.
- Prayer of Mending
- 2.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast, 10 sec cooldown
- Places a spell on a party or raid member that heals them for a moderate amount the next time they take damage. When the heal occurs, Prayer of Mending jumps to another party or raid member within 20 yds. Jumps up to 5 times and lasts 30 sec. after each jump.
- Holy Word: Sanctify
- 5% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant, 1 min. cooldown
- Release miraculous light into a target location, healing up to 6 allies within 10 yards for a huge amount.
- 2.5% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
- Fill the target with faith in the Light, healing them instantly for a minor amount and then a large amount over 15 sec.
- When you cast Flash Heal or Heal, the cooldown of Holy Word: Serenity is reduced by 6 sec.
- When you cast Prayer of Healing or Prayer of Mending, the cooldown of Holy Word: Sanctify is reduced by 6 sec.
- When you cast Smite or Holy Fire, the cooldown of Holy Word: Chastise is reduced by 6 sec.
- Mastery: Echo of Light
- Your direct healing spells heal for an additional 25% (with Mastery from typical gear) over 6 sec.
Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Holy-specific talents:
- Instant, 3 min cooldown
- Enter a pure Holy form for 30 sec, increasing the effects of Serendipity by 200%.
The Light in which many priests bathe is brilliant and effervescent, granting them immense divine power. But the brightest light casts the darkest shadow—and from within this blackness, a rival power dwells. Shadow priests fully embrace this opposing polarity, their faith equally resolute as their holy counterparts—but focused on shadowy magics and mental manipulation. Like all priests, they dedicate much of their lives to worship—but they derive their power from the Void, straying dangerously close to the domain of the Old Gods. To truly understand such ancient, corruptive influence is to be driven mad. This is the state in which these dark priests thrive, embracing insanity and feeding off of the minds of their opponents to reach terrifying new limits.
"These dark priests thrive, embracing insanity and feeding off of the minds of their opponents to reach terrifying new limits"
We’ve long alluded to the Old God influences of Shadow Priests in their spells and abilities, and we’re making that more distinct in Legion.
A new resource, Insanity, provides a better fit for Shadow, having more granularity and gameplay that emphasizes the immense but fleeting power that the Void offers. Mind Blast, Shadow Word: Pain, and Vampiric Touch will build Insanity. Reaching maximum Insanity will transform Shadowform into Voidform, giving the Shadow Priest access to stronger Void magic, but it is unable to be maintained indefinitely. This should make for interesting gameplay as Shadow Priests try to maintain the height of their Insanity as long as possible to prey on the minds of their enemies.
While not under the effects of Insanity, Shadow Priests continue to rely heavily on abilities that inflict sustained damage over time. Finally, having turned away from the Light, Shadow Priests eschew such spells as Heal, Flash Heal, and Prayer of Mending. Power Word: Shield and Shadow Mend are their primary healing tools.
- When you reach 100 Insanity, you enter Voidform, transforming your Mind spells into Void spells, and increasing your Shadow damage by 30%.
- While in Voidform, you gain 2% Haste every 1 sec. This Haste will also persist for 20 sec after Voidform ends.
- Voidform causes your Insanity to constantly drain, faster and faster, until completely drained, and Voidform ends.
- Mind Flay
- 40 yd range, Channeled
- Assault the target’s mind with Shadow energy, causing minor Shadow damage over 3 sec and slowing their movement speed by 50%.
- While in Voidform, transforms into Void Flay, which also extends Shadow Word: Pain by 3 sec.
- Mind Blast
- 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast, 9 sec cooldown
- Blasts the target’s mind for strong Shadow damage.
- Generates 15 Insanity.
- While in Voidform, transforms into Void Blast, which has a 4.5 sec cooldown, and also extends Vampiric Touch by 3 sec.
- Vampiric Touch
- 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
- A touch of darkness that causes huge Shadow damage over 24 sec, and heals the Priest for each point of damage dealt.
- If Vampiric Touch is dispelled, the dispeller flees in Horror for 3 sec.
- Each time Vampiric Touch deals damage, it generates 3 Insanity.
- Shadow Word: Pain
- 40 yd range, Instant
- A word of darkness that causes minor Shadow damage instantly, and an additional huge amount of damage over 18 sec.
- Each time Shadow Word: Pain deals damage, it generates 3 Insanity, and has a 10% chance to reset the cooldown of Mind Blast.
- Mastery: Madness
- Increases the damage and Insanity generation of your Mind Blast, Shadow Word: Pain, Vampiric Touch, and Shadow Word: Death by 20% (with Mastery from typical gear).
Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Shadow-specific talents:
- Instant, 2 min cooldown
- Let the power of the void flow through you, instantly generating 100 Insanity.
Some priests pride themselves on pragmatism. They understand that light casts a shadow, that darkness is defined by light, and that true discipline stems from one’s ability to balance these opposing powers in services of a greater cause. While these priests possess many holy virtues to aid their allies, they also dabble in the dark arts to debilitate their enemies—always exercising immense discipline to keep themselves away from the brink of insanity. Many would say the ends justify the means; scriptures both virtuous and vile should be studied and understood to protect the congregation.
"True discipline stems from one’s ability to balance opposing powers in services of a greater cause"
The power of absorption mechanics has created a gameplay issue for healers that we’re looking to address in Legion. Discipline Priests have been so effective in their role of preventing damage that it has sometimes left other healers yearning for an opportune time to throw out a clutch heal. To alleviate that issue, we’re tempering Discipline’s emphasis on shields in lieu of a reimaged Atonement mechanic.
Discipline Priests are now more clearly defined by their use of both Holy and Shadow magic, and that extends to how they function in combat. Sacrificing a portion of healing ability and having a reduced focus on absorption spells, they gain a significant contribution in damage. Still filling a healer role in group content, they aim to strike a balance between healing allies and damaging enemies in a unique gameplay style. Discipline Priests have strong cooldowns with Power Word: Barrier and Pain Suppression, along with Rapture, a new cooldown that temporarily removes the cooldown of Power Word: Shield.
Here’s a basic look at the core defensive and offensive combat abilities for Discipline Priests:
- Plea, Power Word: Shield, and Shadow Mend also apply Atonement to your target for 15 sec.
- When you deal spell damage, you instantly heal all targets affected by Atonement for 50% of the damage done.
- Developer comment: Healing is not split between Atonements—the more allies you have Atonement on, the more total healing that a damage spell will cause.
- Mastery: Absolution
- Increases the healing transferred through Atonement by 28% (with Mastery from typical gear).
- 1.2% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
- A quick, efficient plea to heal an ally for a minor amount.
- Shadow Mend
- 3.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
- Wrap an ally in shadows which heal them for a large amount, but at a price.
- The ally will take minor damage every 1 sec, until they have taken half that amount of total damage from all sources, or leave combat.
- Power Word: Shield
- 3.5% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant, 6 sec cooldown
- Shield an ally, absorbing a large amount of damage. Lasts 15 sec.
- While the shield holds, spellcasting will not be delayed by damage.
- Power Word: Radiance
- 7.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 2.5 sec cast
- A burst of light heals a friendly target and their 5 nearest allies for a moderate amount, and applies Atonement for 50% of its normal duration.
- 0.75% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
- Smite an enemy for moderate Holy damage.
- Mind Blast
- 3.0% Mana, 40 yd range, 1.5 sec cast
- Blast the target’s mind for strong Shadow damage.
- 2.5% Mana, 40 yd range, Channeled, 9 sec cooldown
- Launches a volley of holy light at the target, causing huge Holy damage over 2 sec.
- Channelable while moving.
- Your Smite and Mind Blast casts have a 30% chance to reset the cooldown on Penance.
- Shadow Word: Pain
- 2.0% Mana, 40 yd range, Instant
- A word of darkness that causes minor Shadow damage instantly, and an additional huge amount of Shadow damage over 18 sec.
Additionally, to give you an idea of how some talents may build upon this, here’s an example of one of their Discipline-specific talents:
- Increases your non-Atonement healing and absorption by 30% on targets with Atonement.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this early preview of our approach to Priest class and specialization design in World of Warcraft: Legion. We’ll continue our review later today with a look at Mages.