[BFA] Mastery / Talent Feedback
In a post on the World of Warcraft beta forums, I made a list of some of our biggest concerns regarding the state of our Mastery and some of our talents. Within short order, we did get a reply that some changes will be seen in the next build and that there are several tweaks in the works for talents. Please feel free to provide feedback in that thread if you have any. I’d like to make sure we focus our discussions there to make sure they are visible to the developers.
- Mastery – Discipline Mastery is in pretty rough shape right now. After some discussion as a group, we think that adding Smite into Mastery might make the stat more enticing and balance out our stat priority a bit. As it stands right now, Mastery is not worth taking and would likely be overlooked as a secondary stat in favor of Crit, Haste, and Vers.
- Schism – This ability has seen some changes recently and conceptually has a place in this row. The duration / cooldown need tweaked a bit to make it a sound choice to compete with Castigation / ToF. Right now at 9 seconds duration and a 24 second cooldown, it’s hard to really fit it in anywhere meaningful that would make it more ideal than ToF or Castigation in raids or dungeons. Adding a couple more seconds to the duration would allow us to fit in two Penance casts, which would likely make this worth taking.
- Body and Soul – With the change to only being able to proc every 6 seconds, this talent would likely not be chosen over Angelic Feather (for movement purposes).
- Power Word: Solace – Even with some of the buffs it received in previous Alpha builds, this talent still doesn’t really come out from beneath the shadows of the other two choices. As in Legion, Shield Discipline and Mindbender will always be better options for PvE content. I think Power Word: Solace could have a place in our toolkit as a more mobile friendly damage spell on movement-heavy encounters. The damage from the ability would need to be increased, cooldown decreased or mana return increased to make it worth choosing.
- Lenience – This talent would likely be taken for raids 100% of the time. The talent is also… how do I say this… boring. There really isn’t any choice being made as a Disc Priest when going into raids of which talent on this tier is best, Lenience takes the cake (in terms of utility for the raid) but doesn’t actually provide much of any increase in (actual) throughput or provide any added benefit besides a passive damage reduction. I think we’d all prefer talent rows that made us choose between 3 talents that would work in different situations and provide us an additional level of strategy going into an encounter. Lenience just fits into a cookie-cutter build that isn’t far off from what we already do today.
- Orison – This talent seems weak right now, but the concept is fine. Might need a numbers buff before BfA goes live, but because it’s in the same tier as Lenience, we’re not likely to take this in raids (unless we just wanted to improve our parses I guess).
- Divine Star – Conceptually, the level 90 row is in good shape. You have Purge the Wicked for encounters where you need sustained healing and have multiple adds to cleave the DoT to. Halo is great for burst healing on encounters where you may not have multiple adds or sustained damage to cover. Divine Star would fit into an encounter where you have the raid stacked for a majority of the encounter with frequent bursts every 15 seconds or so to maximize its use. Pulling off hitting every target twice with every cast of Divine Star isn’t easy nor possible in every encounter, making Halo just easier to use in a similar situation. There are too many variables that would make Divine Star more difficult to get benefit from, but I think reducing the mana cost for Divine Star would make it more likely to be used, and generally balance out this tier.
- Luminous Barrier – The idea behind this talent is sound, giving us an option to use this talent choice as an option in encounters where we are spread for most of the encounter. It’s also good in groups larger than ~18-20 people, so for LFR/Normal/Heroic content it might be worth considering. However, there are a couple major concerns regarding it, of which make it almost never taken in any competitive content (Mythic specifically). Firstly for raids, it needs to beat out Evangelism. This alone is a tall task and unlikely to happen. Secondly for raids, Power Word: Barrier needs to have little to no place to be used. This also is unlikely, but still more common than Evangelism not being worth taking. For dungeons, Grace is still our go-to and Luminous Barrier seems to be a weak choice for 5 man content.
The talent row balancing comments are something we’ll probably look at in a little more detail slightly later, though there is a simple buff in the pipeline for Luminous Barrier.
On the base rotation: while we don’t want it to be as burst-oriented as it was in Legion due to Light’s Wrath, we are looking to add a little more texture back as far as moments of higher damage/healing. In the next build, we’re trying out Power of the Dark Side as a baseline part of the spec.
On Power Word: Shield (based on various comments in a lot of different places): Power Word: Shield will definitely be used a lot more than it was in Legion (obviously, due to not having a cooldown). But, we neither expect nor want it to be like the PW:S spam of Mists or Warlords. In those days, a rotation based almost entirely on PW:S did sufficient healing to make a Disc using that rotation into a top healer. Therefore it was doing roughly an entire healer’s worth of healing in the form of absorbs.
Disc in BFA should not be able to put out that level of absorption, even if it uses a higher portion of casts on PW:S. Using PW:S, and absorbs generally, is still a core part of Disc’s identity, but reaching full healing potential still requires a significant contribution of other mechanics like Atonement. We don’t see it as a problem if PW:S is a major workhorse spell of the rotation in all contexts, but the opportunities to apply very high amounts of shielding are cooldown-limited (Rapture and Luminous Barrier), and current talents that buff PW:S generally do so without adding absorption (Lenience and Orison).