Well, Blizzard launched their official Mists of Pandaria Talent Calculator today… just in time for Thanksgiving. The question is: will we have anything to be thankful for? Cursory looks suggest that we might be in for an interesting change, based solely upon the spells we get for specific specs. I will say they put in a good amount of effort into breaking down the core spells and abilities for each of the two healing specs we have. That probably was a difficult task, as they want and need to be able to keep each of the trees viable in a PVE and PVP setting, while having enough core differences to make them feel unique. Unfortunately, there does seem to be a number of (accidental?) omissions in the first round of Talent Previews. (Or we can hope they are accidental!)

For those who haven’t made your way over to the official preview and calculator, as you level up you get certain spells and bonuses unlocked with specific paths and bones for both Holy and Disc (and Shadow too).



However, upon a closer inspection there are substantial gaps in the Specialization spells… and by gaps, I mean spells and key traits are completely missing. While, yes, Blizzard did they they were going to be pruning our spellbooks down; some of these missing tools seem to be clear oversights. Others, however might not be oversights and just will be changes into the way we play. Before we all go screaming that the sky is falling, lets remember to keep ourselves in check… this is just PREVIEW and is still under development. Therefore, by no means any of this is final. (and with some of the gaps, it obviously isnt final)

Shared  Potential Gaps and Commentary:

  • Prayer of Healing is currently not anywhere to be seen. This seems to be an error as there are talents that specifically augment this.  (Serendipity/Chakra: Sanctuary)
  • Holy Nova is gone, which is something I am not overly worried about. (Though I did like using it on HM Ragnaros during World in Flames or when Seed Kiting) The part that is quite curious is the fact that at Blizzcon they said they wanted to try to incorporate Holy Nova into the Disc Tree. (Possibly another omission)
  • Meditation is gone… this could be a huge change in how we handle regen in Mists. However it is present for Druids and Shaman. (Pallies currently don’t have it) Remember, they said they were changing how mana was going to work for us. Perhaps losing our in-combat regen is just the first step.
  • A number of our throughput/mana saving abilities are missing. (eg. Divine Fury, Mental Agility, Twin Disciplines) These could be explained away as part of the overarching changes in MoP, but still surprising to see them gone… especially Divine Fury given the cast times of our Heals.
  • Inspiration is gone, as well as its Shaman counterpart, Ancestral Fortitude– perhaps this very ‘high mantenence’ spell is time to retire.

Discipline Potential Gaps and Commentary:

  • No specialization, aside from Mastery, that increases PW: Shield size or augments it. Especially interesting since PW: Shield is a shared spell between Disc and Holy.
  • Divine Aegis is missing; another clear accidental omission.
  • Heal is currently Holy only. This could mean they want us to use Smite as our Heal, however Atonement is missing– so there are still some questions up in the air.  Further, if Heal  is going to be less important, we should also consider potential oversight of Strength of Soul. (Heroic Baleroc anyone?) Additionally, this only leaves Disc with GHeal, Flash, and Penance as our targeted single target heal. However, in one of the class Q&A’s we did learn about Spirit Shell, which is a cast time shield that doesn’t have a Weakened Soul component– perhaps this is the quid pro quo.
  • Perhaps they want us to use PW:S more; but we still don’t have Soul Warding in the current preview.
  • Renewed Hope is a huge player in the Disc Tank Healing arsena but is currently MIA; unless they decide to merge it into Grace
  • No innately higher intellect from Enlightenment to offset Holy Concentration via Rapture.
  • Hymn of Hope is Disc only. I kind of like the opposing hymns for each of the two Specializations it gives them a certain flair (accidental or not). That said, I’d argue that HoH could use a slight buff if that is the case; and Holy’s regen would need to be adjusted for the lack of it.

Holy Potential Gaps and Commentary: 

  • Holy is actually looking pretty solid; only really some shared gaps and some potential throughput concerns. It makes me wonder if Blizzard looked at Holy first and will be coming back to Discipline.
  • I do find it interesting they are doling out Lightwell and Spirit of Redemption. (Improved Death) since these spells were very “choices” in current content. (I still dislike Spirit of Redemption. It is just a talent that keeps you alive just a little longer after you messed up— just seems wrong to me)
  • Currently Binding Heal is Holy Only; could be interesting to tie this spell just to Holy; but what would the trade off for Disc be? Nova?
  •  Divine Hymn is currently Holy Only; though without Heavenly Voice we could be back to ground zero with it.

Talent Trees
There have been a number of bloggers out there who have commented on the talent trees and the choices we have at 15, 20, 45, 60, 75, and 90. While, I have been working on a post analyzing those choices… the talent system is less of a ‘choice’ than it ever was. With the ability to change our talents like Glyphs we will have the flexibility to customize our Tree to the boss encounter itself.  Further, we still don’t know exactly how a number of these abilities will work… and I really don’t like speculating.  I even hesitated to write this post as it is mired in speculation. There is simply TOO MUCH UNKNOWN and existing 4.0 talents could be merged into existing 5.0 ones. Until I can get my hands on concrete information about how these new abilities actually work in practice(eg. Void Shift), I think we are just speculating for speculations sake. Let’s see them in action before we make snap judgements.  Of course I DO have some preliminary opinions and gut reactions to a number of the new Talents… I just need to figure out how I want to communicate that on the blog.

Given the number of holes and unknowns, doing too much fretting over these trees is like tilting at windmills. The most we can do is keep our concerns in the back of our minds, and see what future Mists of Pandaria previews have in store. As of now there are too many obvious errors to really get too worked up. Is it possible that this is the final Priest Specialization/Talent Tree… sure; though it seems HIGHLY unlikely. So, calm down… pour yourself a glass of wine and relax; more information will be coming…. soon™.