We’re getting closer and closer!

The Public PTR has now been patched with a 4.0 Build! This means we should (soon™) see the build on the Live Servers and shortly after see Cataclysm! As of yet, we’ve not seen an official Blue Post giving us an actual date. I think the next 1-2 beta patches will be the real tell tale sign. If the next patch is as big as I suspect it will be… Boubouille’s November 2nd date could very well be the date we all hope it is.

By now many of you might have already downloaded and copied to the PTR to take a look at the 4.0 Talent Trees. Over the next two weeks we’ll be explaining both Discipline and Holy builds are at level 85 (and subsequently level 80). I’ll be starting with the Holy Builds first and Avalonna will be taking the Discipline build next week. (mainly due to the fact that Holy is the most ‘complete’) Disc, I am hoping, is still going to be getting some polish in the next patch or two.

Generally speaking, there isn’t much ‘choice’ in the Holy Tree; you are either going PVE Healing or PVP Healing. There is very little, “Shoot!! Should I take X instead of getting Y?” in the Holy Tree– that exists mostly in the Disc Tree.

In my eyes you really have 2 options as Holy: Holy with Inner Sanctum and Holy with Archangel. Most PVE Holy builds will get you your pure throughput improvements via Divine Fury, Improved and Empowered Healing. You also get your secondary throughput improvements via Test of Faith and Inspiration. Most importantly, this build gives you all of our new toys like Chakra and Revelations. (See my other posts on those abilities on Chakra here and Revelations here.)

This talent build is what I would consider a standard Holy with Inner Sanctum spec. 9/32/0

You do pick up Desperate Prayer, Lightwell and Spirit of Redemption in this build. These 3 points are pretty disappointing in my eyes but could offer some flexibility in your spec decisions.

Desperate Prayer – while very handy, I hate having to spend a point to get it when I would rather just eat a Healthstone or cast Binding Heal.

Lightwell– I will give Blizzard some credit where it is due: Lightwell has been notably improved. It has an increased ‘click’ range and is non-targetable, making it much more viable than in the past. Further, the heal over time it provides is beefy. The question that we need to ask ourselves and to continually test in practice: Will players use it? If we can’t train DPS to keep an eye out for it when a heal is needed… perhaps this is a point better spent elsewhere.

Spirit of Redemption – Now with 5% less spirit! This talent provides no passive buff (the current 5% buff to spirit is THE reason most Holy Priests have taken this) and no is literally ‘improved death’. — I will say that my guild’s first Heroic Sindragosa kill was likely thanks to a Spirit of Redemption’d Divine Hymn… but I shouldn’t be dying in raids. Could I use this point elsewhere? Maybe.

After we’ve capped our ‘needed’ talents in Holy, we can use points in Disc. (Obviously with only Level 80 TPs you are very limited in what you can grab, but remember… these trees are not build assuming Level 80, just like how in TBC 3.0 the trees weren’t build assuming Level 70.) You have the 2 Tier 1 abilities, Mental Agility and Twin Disciplines, for mana cost reductions on your instants (Renew, Holy Word: Chastise/Aspire/Serenity, Twirling Light FHs, Leap of Faith, and PW:S) and output improvement. One could argue that 2/3 Mental Agility is sufficient, but with Mana being at a premium now, I’d rather err on the side of conservatism.

Here is where the question lies: Inner Sanctum or Archangel?

Evangelism and Archangel are interesting talents. I am still not 100% sold on the practical application of weaving smites into your healing rotation. However, if you are going to play a Holy Archangel spec, you should pick up 2/2 Twirling Light to be able to instantly (and cheaply) spot heal after your smites. Your mana will likely be a bit stronger do to the fact that you’ll be restoring a substantial amount with Archangel. However, to get access to Archangel and Twirling Light, it does mean you’ll need to free up 2 talent points.

For me, I think one of the obvious choices is Desperate Prayer. If you are going to be picking up Twirling Light, your Instant FH can easily be subbed in for DP. Well that’s 1 of the 2 needed! As I previously mentioned, that leaves Lightwell and Spirit of Redemption at the top of my list. (Going 0/2 Divine Touch is up there as well, but I’ve been enjoying the cleanup work it can do, as well as the assistance in keeping my Mastery HoT on the MT). I want to give Lightwell a fair chance, so my Holy Archangel Spec will be sans-Desperate Prayer and Spirit of Redemption. Other options to free up these points include taking a point from Mental Agility or Serendipity (now that it has decreased value)– the choice is really up to you and customized to how you play.

My Holy Archangel Spec would be this build. 9/32/0

Holy has some interesting toys this go around, and I know I have been really enjoying Chakra and the Revelations. There are some preference choices you can make to make the build more customized to your playstyle… and I like that. The builds I have posted here are only *my* opinions of what I think are strong options– how you play and what you want to use is entirely up to you.  The jury is still out for me and my verdict on Archangel… perhaps I am just an old man yelling at the kids on my lawn in the way that I feel about healers casing DPS spells in a raid environment.

Damn kids… get off my lawn!!!

All of the information in this post is based off of Beta Build 12942 and, of course, is subject to change.

Image used under Creative Commons from Flickr user David Light Orchard.