Incoming Healer Changes Affect Priests, Shaman

UPDATE: These changes were implemented in the Feb. 16 batch of hotfixes.

Community Manager Nethaera just announced some incoming healer changes that will affect priests and shaman. Here are the main points:

  • Priests: The cost of Power Word: Shield is being increased by 33% so Discipline priests don't completely rely on it more than other spells. In response, Blizzard is adding mana savings into the Body and Soul talent to make sure Holy priests don't notice much of a change.
  • Shaman: Blizzard is buffing Purification for the Restoration shaman passive from 10% to 25%. Shaman healing per second is not as competitive with other healers, so this buff should help even the playing field.

For all the details, check out Nethaera's post after the jump, which also includes some discussion on Restoration druids.

Incoming Healer Changes

Since the release of patch 4.0.6, we’ve been keeping an eye on healers and how they are performing and are currently in the process of making some additional adjustments.


The cost of Power Word: Shield is being increased by 33%. While we wanted Discipline priests to be able to utilize this spell more often and with better results, we also did not want it to be the main spell (and often the only spell) used while in groups. We don’t find this to be a particularly compelling playstyle and have found that it encourages players to avoid using other spells such as Penance. We believe that using a shield in a tight moment is totally appropriate, but we don’t want it to be incredibly efficient to do so with more frequency than that.

We realize that by making Power Word: Shield slightly more expensive for Discipline priests to cast that it might cause Holy priests to avoid using it. To that end, we are adding mana savings into the Body and Soul talent. The tooltip will not reflect this change until a future patch, however. Ideally, Holy priests should not notice much of a change to the Power Word: Shield costs.


We are also applying a hotfix for Purification for the Restoration shaman passive from 10% to 25%. We think that shaman healing per second is not as competitive with other healers and while we hoped to bring down Holy priest and Holy paladins (in particular) in 4.0.6, which we did, shaman still appear to be behind. In this case, it is simply easier to buff Restoration shaman rather than nerf everyone else or rebalance the encounters.

In Addition- Restoration Druids and Restoration Shaman

We agree with the sentiment among some players that Restoration druids and Restoration shaman are lacking in the healing cooldown department. The shaman buff and Power Word: Shield adjustment above should bring all healers reasonably close in terms of throughput. The decision on who to bring then might end up being dictated by the strong cooldowns offered by paladins or priests. This isn’t the kind of thing we can address via a hotfix, but it is something we are looking at for the next major content patch.

As always, we appreciate your continued constructive feedback and will do our best to keep you informed of ongoing developments.


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Makes sense to me
# Feb 17 2011 at 2:12 AM Rating: Good
96 posts
After all, why would you want Disc priests to use their spec-defining spell very often? Here's an idea ... you want Disc priests to use Penance more often? Make Penance a better spell. The only reason I use Penance currently is to get a tank up to the 24% Grace stack immediately.

As a healing spell, Penance is currently pretty much broken. Penance for me used to hit for about 15-20k per cast in ICC10, which represented 25-30% of my tank's health pool. @ lvl 85 now Penance is hitting for 18-20k per cast, which now represents less than 15% (more often 10-12%) of my target's health pool. So on an absolute basis it's damned near the same heal, while on a relative basis it's dropped by nearly 50%. Frankly, unless i need to re-stack Grace, I'm better off using Smite/Atonement, I get damned near as much healing done for a buttload better mana efficiency.

Oh yeah, and this spell is so "powerful" it's on a cooldown...

So since you've decided Holy priests get a more efficient shield than Disc, how about you un-nerf the only group heal we have (yeah, thanks for nerfing the only Disc group heal (PoH) while BUFFING Holy priest's CoH.)
# Feb 16 2011 at 2:35 PM Rating: Decent
2 posts
Shaman healing actually needed the buffs, priests were just fine how they were. I really wish Blizzard would quit changing stuff though.
# Feb 16 2011 at 1:26 PM Rating: Decent
44 posts
how about u buff the weaker classes like you are going to do anyways and balance out that way? I just don't get if this expansion was designed to make healer more difficult why continue to nerf?
# Feb 16 2011 at 1:17 PM Rating: Decent
44 posts
Yes cause we all know how much of a pain in the **** it is to bubble everyone in the party in a pug because they love to dps instead of letting the tank get aggro... this makes group healing even harder for Disc priest..... personally I'd love to see blizzard pull their head out of their **** and actually fix something that IS broken.. like some quest from Vanilla they never got around to fixing.. or how about why an Arcane mage in all green can still out dps and damage a ret pally in all item level 333.... fix what is actually broken NOT what isn't!
Is change even needed?
# Feb 16 2011 at 1:04 PM Rating: Decent
2 posts
Hey Blizz, what about what the PLAYERS want? Why are you trying to fix what isn't broken?
# Feb 16 2011 at 12:30 PM Rating: Good
4,445 posts
Awesome idea. Making healing even more difficult. Now even more people can say ***** it and just dps.
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