... I can't help feeling somewhat underwhelmed and definitely not enlightened. I know, I know, that's what people have been saying about all the previous Q&As too. I guess I was holding out an irrational hope that this one would be different somehow because it's about my class.
Nonetheless there are quite a few things I would like to comment on:
First off, I immediately have to disagree somewhat with Ghostcrawler's description of the "unmatched versatility" of the healing priest. I mean, have you looked at resto druids lately? A quick look at wowhead tells me that a fully talented resto druid has eight different healing spells at their disposal, with only one of them being of somewhat questionable usefulness (Healing Touch). A holy priest has ten different healing spells, two of which are utter rubbish for doing any actual healing (Holy Nova and Lightwell), leaving us at eight as well. That really doesn't strike me as having considerably more options. And the claim that priests have "strong heal-over-time spells" is simply untrue. Priest have one HoT, Renew, and it's only reasonably strong if you glyph for it and invest six talent points solely into making that one spell better.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying priests suck and nerf resto druids. I'm saying that with the way Blizzard has buffed the other healing classes since the end of BC, they are actually pretty on par with priests in what they can do, including the amount of spells they have. Priests have versatility in so far as they can choose to spec so they can either compete with paladins at single-target healing, or with druids and shamans at raid healing. But once you've picked your spec you're locked into a very specific role as well and don't really have considerably more ways to fulfill it than other classes.
Up next, shadow priests seem to get relatively little love from the developers. I can't really comment on everything in that section of the Q&A since I abandoned shadow for holy at the start of WOTLK because I didn't find being a "pure" dpser as fun as playing an utility role and thus didn't like the changes they made to Vampiric Touch and shadow priest damage.
The bit about Dispersion made me raise my eyebrow though, because the most common complaint I hear about it is that it simply doesn't work in PvE when it would be the most useful, that is to say in situations where a boss suddenly decides to target you with an extra damage ability like Ignis' slag pot. This wasn't even brought up.
And the argument that Dispersion must be good because "nearly all shadow priests take it" is simply rubbish. The reason nearly all shadow priests take it is that there aren't any other options. You could take every single talent in the shadow tree, even the ones you'll never get any use out of, and you'll still have talent points left over at 80. Then you look at the other two talent trees and they are all about healing and thus don't improve your damage either (with the exception of a couple of talents in the first two tiers of discipline). So what else should you do with those points? Dispersion is not a bad talent, it's just very lackluster for a 51-pointer considering that most other classes get something in that spot that's worth casting every time its cooldown is up.
Regarding Vampiric Embrace, I have to admit the notion that it creates too much threat these days is new to me as well. Just thinking about that spell is kind of weird now though, I remember how many times they nerfed it because its group healing was perceived as too powerful... and yet these days we have ret pallies healing the whole raid with judgement of light. Go figure.
I'm not sure I like the idea of priests getting a frost spell; it just seems to... un-priesty. I think allowing easier shifting to holy spells if necessary might be the way to go there, it's not as if that will suddenly turn shadow priests into amazing healers or anything.
Shifting gear to talk about the healing side of priest-dom, Ghostcrawler goes on to talk about how Greater Heal doesn't get a lot of use these days. And then... it just gets confusing. He basically says that Greater Heal is a bit rubbish and they know it because it's too slow and too big, but they want us to use it more, so they are considering giving us another small heal. Eh, what? I hope I'm not the only one who was wondering what he was actually trying to say there. That said, I'd definitely like them to make Greater Heal more viable again. I miss it and I still use Flash Heal a lot less than my fellow raiding priests. Old habits die hard.
The question about Divine Hymn was actually my favourite because it was the one thing that made me a little happy. I agree that it's a great spell and probably shouldn't be available more than once per encounter, but it can easily happen that you wipe and then can't use it on the next attempt simply because your raid is reasonably fast at regrouping for the next try. So preventing it from being recast only because of a debuff à la "sated" (which you lose if you die) would be great.
Every mention of Lightwell just makes me sigh. I can't believe how stubbornly the developers are clinging to the idea, no matter how many times people repeat that it's not working. Yes, there's always the odd one out who goes "Oh yes, I use Lightwell all the time in raids and it's great because our dpsers are smart", but in most cases it will simply go unused. Dps characters will focus on their dps more than their survival, and I think to a certain extent that's actually quite okay. That's why we have healers in groups. If everybody was expected to run to the back and grab a Lightwell charge, you might as well not bring a healer and just tell everybody to bandage. Just let it go already and replace that talent with something that actually affects the way I heal instead of expecting people to create wannabe soulwells.
The section that annoyed me the most was the one about combining Dispel Magic and Dispel Disease into one spell. To be honest this wasn't even something that ever occurred to me, so it's not like Ghostcrawler just rejected my favourite idea ever, but the way in which he did it was just... baffling. "We think that pushes dispels too far into easy mode." You realise that both paladins and resto shamans already have spells to dispel not two, but three debuffs at once? Are those classes easy mode then? And why is it okay for them but not for priests? That's just no logical argument.
Finally, the argument about Inner Fire was one I could actually understand somewhat, though the charges are still hugely annoying in PvP or any other kind of situation where you are on the receiving end of a lot of small hits in rapid succession. I'd actually really like the idea of providing priests with alternate armour buffs if that made them get rid of the charges, but unfortunately I don't think he was quite serious about that suggestion. Oh well.
This might have come off as a bit ranty, but for the record I'd like to state that I actually think that priests are in a pretty good place right now. There are always minor things that could be improved, but overall we are fine - all three of our specs are viable. It's just that when you read something that goes into that much detail about your class, you'd hope they'd be able to avoid silly mistakes like claiming that priests have strong HoTs.
Link to the Q&A itself on the European website
A Disconcerting Feeling
2 hours ago