Haste has played a fairly big role for a number of classes when it was introduced in The Burning Crusade and now in Wrath.  After some initial testing, it seems that Haste is going to be bigger and better in Cataclysm. Before you go rushing out and getting as much Haste Gear that you can in preparation for Cataclysm, let’s remember the basics about haste…

Haste, like crit, requires more to scale as you level. That means, 1000 haste at level 80 isn’t the same as 1000 haste at level 81. For example, at Level 80, I have 29.4% haste (964 Haste)– the second I dinged 81 my haste dropped to 19.1%. Pretty dramatic.

As we all know from the multitude of Blue Posts, haste will affect HoTs and DoTs. Haste will shorten the time between each tick of a HoT or a DoT and could allow for additional ticks in the spells duration. One thing to remember, Channeled spells are classified as “over time” spells, meaning they too benefit from haste!

Haste doesn’t reduce the duration of channeled spells– we just get extra ticks in the same time that we did before.  As priests we have a lot of spells that will benefit from Haste: Renew, SW: Pain, Devouring Plague, Hymn of Hope, Divine Hymn, Penance, Mind Flay, and Mind Sear.

After some initial testing on beta, Penance has a 25% haste breakpoint which grants an additional tick. That means in the same time a unhasted Penance would volley 3 orbs of light towards your tank, a Penance with 25% haste would have 4 ticks. This got me thinking, what about 5 or 6 ticks? There is a YouTube video out there with a priest stacking haste, Black Magic, Borrowed Time, and Heroism getting 6 Penance ticks. (Borrowed Time has since been removed from the Disc Talent Tree). After some discussion with Priest Math Master, Zusterke, we both agree that for Penance a 5th tick would require 75% haste and a 6th, 125%. (I didn’t confirm this on Beta, mainly because I don’t have 125% haste! But his math he shared with me seemed accurate).

Additionally, should you not have enough haste to add a tick to a channeled spell the haste will shorten the duration of the channel. Using the previous example with 24.9% hasted Penance, you would have a shortened Penance channel time with 3 ticks. At 25% you would have a 2 second channel with 4 ticks. (added this paragraph due to missing clarity that was pointed out by Nimaj…)

What does this really mean in application?

Well, it could provide major complication in your gearing and gemming decisions. Let’s pretend the Staff of Awesomesauce drops and it has Intellect (remember Int is the new Spellpower) and haste… it has LESS int than your current weapon but more haste. So this means you would get a net loss in spellpower, but you’d increase your haste…. You now need to know where your breakpoints are! For purposes of this example, lets pretend you are sitting at 24.9% haste: You now need to determine is getting a entire extra tick out of Penance worth losing X amount of spellpower. I am sure you will see theorycrafting numbers available for nearly every HOT/DOT/Channeled spell letting you know the haste breakpoints for each spell… however, logic should always prevail when making a gearing choice: Does it make sense for me to use Item X over Item Y?

Haste is now even more important of a efficiency stat. It allows you to heal for more at the same mana cost. It is directly proportionate to your Healing Per Mana. Keep in mind, Blue has stated efficiency is going to be a major part of the healing game. With more haste your hots will have additional ticks and overall, heal for more. For the same mana cost, you could get 1, 2, or even more ticks from a single spell. 4 hits from Penance? Yes please.

Am I suggesting that in Cataclysm you gear and gem only for haste? No, not at all. We all should be aware of the notable increased value of haste and how haste, depending on how much you have already could very well be more valuable than other stats available.

Note to our Readers:  During the Beta, Tales of a Priest will continue to cover BOTH Live and Beta topics. I will primarily focus on beta information, and Ava will primarily focus on topics on the Live Servers. Stay tuned!

All of the information in this post is based off of Beta Build 12644 and, of course, is subject to change.