Cataclysm: Official Priest Class Preview

Written by Medievaldragon on . Posted in Blizzard Games News, World of Warcraft News

The Priest class will gain three new spells: Mind Spike (level 81), Inner Will (level 83) and Leap of Faith (level 85).

None is spectacular, but each has its own tactical use — making each one a good addition to the priest’s arsenal. My main is a holy paladin, but my first character until Burning Crusade was a Priest (currently lvl 80, GS 5114 with the Storming the Citadel 10/25 achievements).

The Mind Spike deals shadowfrost damage and adds a debuff on the target. The Mind Spike optionally replaces Mind Flay in certain situations, which means both do about the same damage. Personally, I like Mind Spike over Mind Flay.

In order to cast Mind Flay, you need to be stationary. That’s not particularly good in all trash encounters or boss encounters. Some of these encounters require you to be mobile, like Saurfang (when the shadowfiends chase you, and fade is on cooldown), or Lady Deathwhisper (when you aggro, or when she casts the big green AOE circle). That’s a lot of DPS loss when you are forced to move or flee. Mind Spike is a good alternative for these mobile encounters.

While I don’t PvP anymore, I can see the usefulness of Mind Spike. If there’s a rogue sneaking around in stealth mode, the least you want to do is to stay stationary casting mind flay on a Warrior/Druid/Paladin Tank/DPS. You would want to spam Mind Spike while getting the heck away from the stealthed Rogue.

If a hunter sics his pet on you, isn’t it a bit dumb to stay stationary casting mind flay on the pet, while the hunter ranges you? I would rather run the heck away from the pet, and kill it with Mind Spike while at the same time going out of range from the Hunter. A+ on Mind Spike in my book.

Inner Will is handy in PvE and mostly in PVP. You can either choose Inner Will or Inner Fire. Never both at once. Kinda like Crusader aura and Retribution aura. You choose and switch back and forth any of these depending on the situation.

Inner Will allows you to move 12% faster and reduces mana cost of install spells by 10%. In PvP, I can see Inner Will the best choice allowing you to run away faster to cause Line of Sight and Out of Range on Hunters, Mages, Warlocks, and Boomkins. It also makes your Mind Spikes cheaper on Mana if your hit cap is at max (in theory).

Leap of Faith is a bit controversial according to some comments I have read, because it can be exploited to grief party members. However, we haven’t even seen this yet to draw conclusions and that’s what GMs are for anyway. Leap of Faith works similar to the Death Knight’s Death Grip. Except the Priest pulls a friendly player out of harm’s way. A holy priest is usually 35-40 yards away from the boss, and isn’t stuck with spell rotations — allowing the priest to see the battlefield better than other classes. Sometimes a melee mob goes straight for that puny and annoying mage, hunter or warlock — and the priest sees the mob going straight for that friendly player. You are unable to do anything aside from applying a Prayer of Mending or a PW: Shield. However, some of these mobs hit so hard it is gonna one-shot the player.

Leap of Faith gives you the chance to do something to protect him. Pull the player out of harm’s way. This gives the Mage and Hunter an extra second to cast Ice Block or Feign Death if it’s not on cooldown. And if that fails, the Priest can cast Fear if there’s no nearby group of mobs. Personally, I love the idea of doing something more than just watch as a fellow player die by an aggroed melee mob.

There are other mechanics and new low level spells to help you grind and level up. A fix to make leveing quicker and fun. Read the entire Cataclysm: Official Priest Class Preview below.

Blizzard Quote:
Wryxian: In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, we’ll be making lots of changes and additions to class talents and abilities across the board. In this preview, you’ll get an early look at some of the changes in store for the priest class, including a rundown of some of the new spells, abilities, and talents, as well as an overview of how the new Mastery system will work with the different talent specs.

New Priest Spells

Heal (available at level 16): While priests already have a spell called Heal, the existing version becomes obsolete at higher levels, which is something we intend to change in Cataclysm. Introduced at a low level, the “new” Heal spell will functionally work much like a down-ranked Greater Heal did in the past, adding more granularity to your direct-healing arsenal. If you need to heal someone a moderate amount and efficiency is an issue (making Flash Heal the incorrect spell for the job), then Heal is what you want to use. Heal is intended to be the priest’s go-to direct-healing spell unless they need something bigger (Greater Heal) or faster (Flash Heal). We will be following a similar philosophy with all the healing classes.

Mind Spike (level 81): Deals Shadowfrost damage and puts a debuff on the target that improves subsequent Mind Spike damage. The intent of Mind Spike is to fill a niche missing in Shadow DPS, though it may be occasionally useful for healers as well. Mind Spike provides a quick nuke to use in situations where the priest doesn’t have time to set up the normal rotation, such as when adds are dying too fast or you have to swap targets a lot. Spamming Mind Spike will do about as much damage as casting Mind Flay on a target afflicted with Shadow Word: Pain. The idea behind the debuff is that when you cast Mind Spike, we expect you to cast a lot of them; we don’t intend you to fit it into an already full Shadow rotation. It also provides Shadow with a spell to cast when locked out of the Shadow school. (School lockouts will no longer affect both schools for multi-school spells.) 1.5-second cast. 30-yard range. No cooldown.

Inner Will (level 83): Increases movement speed by 12% and reduces the mana cost of instant-cast spells by 10%. This buff will be exclusive with Inner Fire, meaning you can’t have both up at once. Inner Fire provides a spell power and Armor buff; Inner Will should be useful on a more situational basis.

Leap of Faith (level 85): Pull a party or raid member to your location. Leap of Faith (or “Life Grip”) is intended to give priests a tool to help rescue fellow players who have pulled aggro, are being focused on in PvP, or just can’t seem to get out of the fire in time. Instant. 30-yard range. 45-second cooldown.

Changes to Abilities and Mechanics

In addition to introducing new spells, we’re planning to make changes to some of the other abilities and mechanics you’re familiar with. This list and the summary of talent changes below it are by no means comprehensive, but they should give you a good sense of what we intend for each spec.

  • All HoTs and DoTs will benefit from Haste and Crit innately. Hasted HoTs and DoTs will not have a shorter duration, just a shorter period in between ticks (meaning they will gain extra ticks to fill in the duration as appropriate).

  • We want to bring back Shadow Word: Death as an “execute” — something you do when the target is at 25% health.
  • While we want to keep the priest’s role as a well-rounded healer, we also want to make sure the class is a viable tank healer, which is something priests moved away from a little in Wrath of the Lich King. Greater Heal will probably be the tank-healing spell of choice, though we’ve also discussed giving Discipline a second shield so that they have a small shield to cast on lots of different targets, and a big, more expensive shield to cast on a tank or anyone else taking a ton of damage.
  • Divine Spirit and Prayer of Spirit will be removed from the game. As Spirit will be the primary mana-regeneration stat, we don’t want it to vary as much between solo, small group, and raid play. Blessing of Kings and Mark of the Wild will not boost Spirit either.
  • Mana will be a bigger consideration for all healers. We aren’t trying to make healing more painful; we’re trying to make it more fun. When the cost of a spell isn’t an issue, then casting the right spell for the job is less of an issue because you might as well just use your most powerful spell all of the time. We are, however, getting rid of the five-second rule, because we don’t want to encourage standing around doing nothing. We’re also going to cut back on the benefits of buffs such as Replenishment so priests (and all healers) don’t feel as penalized when those buffs aren’t available.

New Talents and Talent Changes

  • We want to improve Discipline’s single-target healing capacity. One key is to make sure shielding isn’t always a more attractive option than healing.

  • We want to improve Holy for PvP healing. One way to do this is to make sure that Heal’s throughput is similar between both specs.
  • We want to improve Shadow for short fights and reduce its susceptibility to school lockouts.
  • Discipline will finally be getting Power Word: Barrier as a talented ability. Think of it like a group Power Word: Shield.
  • We want to make Holy a little bit more interesting to play. One new talent will push the Holy priest into an improved healing state when he or she casts Prayer of Healing, Heal, or Renew three times in a row. The empowered state varies depending on the heals cast.
  • Since the Shadow tree has a lot of passive damage-boosting abilities — something we’re trying to avoid in Cataclysm — we will need to replace several of the tree’s talents. One idea is to play off of the new Shadow Orbs mechanic (see Mastery section below), possibly allowing you to consume an orb to increase damage from Mind Blast or reduce Mind Spike’s cast time.
  • Misery will no longer affect spell Hit chance. We want players to be able to gear themselves around a Hit cap that isn’t variable depending on group composition.

Mastery Passive Talent Tree Bonuses


  • Healing

  • Meditation
  • Absorption

  • Healing

  • Meditation
  • Radiance

  • Spell damage

  • Spell Crit
  • Shadow Orbs

Absorption: Improves the strength of shields such as Power Word: Shield, Divine Aegis, and Power Word: Barrier.

Radiance: Your direct heals add a small heal-over-time component to the target.

Shadow Orbs: Casting spells grants a chance for Shadow Orbs to be created that fly around you and increase your shadow damage. This will help lower-level characters feel more like “Shadow priests” before they obtain Shadowform.

We hope you enjoyed this preview, and we’re looking forward to hearing your initial thoughts and feedback on these additions and changes. Please keep in mind that this information represents a work in progress and is subject to change as development on Cataclysm continues.


Slorkuz: A few quick clarifications:

Neither Inner Fire nor Inner Will has charges. The decision is on which armor you want up at the time.

Preventing dot clipping is something we want to do in general. It obviously benefits Shadow priests just as much as warlocks.

The idea behind Mind Spike is that you can’t always settle into your normal, and high-ramp up rotation. It’s also useful when you have to move or get school locked.

The closest analogue to PW:B is the DK Anti-Magic Zone, but it has some important differences, such as a way to counter it in PvP (since it absorbs all damage, not just magical damage).

The idea behind the Holy “cast three in a row” talent (it’s called “Chakra”) is that we’ve always positioned Holy as a versatile healer. This talent lets you shift into different modes. If you need to be a tank healer, cast three single target heals and your single-target healing is now better. Cast three area heals, and you can be a temporarily specialized group healer. We’re going to try to play this mechanic up with a cool UI to try to get that “I’m almost in the zone” feel. We’ll let it apply to as many types of spells as we can, perhaps even Smite for those times when nobody’s taking damage.

We pulled Misery because we are pulling every group benefit that improves hit. It’s annoying to have to swap your gear in and out depending on who shows up for your group. In general we’re going to push even harder in Cataclysm for bringing people you like to play with, not bringing people who have awesome buffs. The answer to almost every question of “But why would they bring me?” should be “Because you know what the hell you’re doing.”

Loved or hated any of the new spells and mechanics? Share your feedback with the Cataclysm developers at the official Priest Class preview at the following forum threads: Europe or USA.

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