Hasty Critilicious
Okay I spent an hour trying to write up a post about finding a balance between haste and crit. It didn’t work for me. My every effort at theorycrafting ended with LOLWUT. Here, I’ll cop out and give you the skinny from ElitistJerks about stats for priests:

Holy: “Rough goals for the start of Ulduar.25 are to have 2800 spellpower, 26-28% crit, and 12% haste, along with ~ 500 Mp5 I5SR fully raid-buffed”

Disc: “Rough goals for the start of Ulduar.25 are to have 2500 spellpower, 35% crit, and 8% haste, along with ~ 500 Mp5 I5SR fully raid-buffed.”

Look at all that work I did. Now that THAT’S done, let’s talk about something really fun. Let’s go beyond the stat streamlining Blizz will be bringing us in Cataclysm and talk a bit about Path of the Titans… and I’m gonna get all fun and creative.

Path of the Titans Brainstorming

The long and the short is this – Blizzard will be redesigning talent trees to be more “fun”, i.e. focusing on bringing you fun spells like Guardian Spirit and Pain Suppression. Path of the Titans will work with the new secondary profession, Archaeology, and will be how you get all those little bonuses, like +3% damage, +5% crit, etc etc etc,

I want to see the crit vs haste debate take a whole new meaning with this change to talent trees. Whether it be via Path of the Titans or the talent tree, I want to see two different paths for healers of all classes. One path for haste, one for crit. Maybe you can choose to balance between the two, or maybe you would pick one over the other.

For instance, for the Poker Player Priest, we have the crit path. Do you like high risk, high reward situations? Then stack crit, and with this chosen direction, you get special bonuses based on crit. Are you more of a Conservative Caster, and prefer predictable, steady bonuses and improvements to your casting style? Stack haste, and take the haste path.

Not so long ago for Priests, Serendipity was completely different, and actually gave you a percentage of mana back when you overhealed. Overhealing is a problem for every healer, though less so for Druids. However, even if your heal isn’t marked as overheal, if you spend your mana, and the heal you cast, or the hot, gives less healing than was intended, it’s a problem. I think this is a great opportunity for some interesting procs.

The Poker Player Priest versus the Conservative Caster

Let’s say you’re a Poker Player Priest (stacking crit), and your heal crits, and overheals your target. I’d love to see some fun procs based on this – whether it be a return of some mana (only on overheals that are crits), or perhaps a short term boost to your crit rating. Or, if you overheal due to a crit, the target gets a damage absorbing shield that absorbs the amount for which they were overhealed. Everytime you crit, you could get a stacking buff that will increase your crit rating by a small amount, up to, say, 5 stacks. Or everytime you crit you have a chance to proc some regen mechanic, like with Holy Concentration. For raid buffs, maybe everytime you crit you could proc a raid buff for a few seconds that would increase crit rating by 5%.

For the Conservative Caster (stacking haste), we could have a serendipity like effect with a smaller boost each stack, but more stacks. So, 5 casts of Flash Heal could give you an instant Greater Heal, or maybe just a very speedy Greater Heal. An overheal could either return some of your mana to you, or give you a small haste boost to your next cast. There could be some ability or proc called “Just in the Nick of Time”, and if you get a heal off on someone who is at less than 5% health, that target gets a double heal, or a HoT effect, a shield effect, a decrease in threat, or maybe all heals on that target are boosted by a certain percentage. For raid buffs, everytime you peel off a Greater Heal of a Prayer of Healing, the entire raid could receive a 10% haste buff.

I use holy priests as an example here, but the same theory could apply for all healers, and really all casters. I really hope that Blizzard gets creative with the new talent trees and Path of the Titans, because I see room for lots of fun stuff in the direction they are heading. I am also pleading for a resolution to the crit vs haste debate.
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