Making Sense of the PTR Notes
As I'm sure you know, late on Friday Blizz released a fresh PTR build, along with the PTR notes to go with it. Normally I would copy and paste all the notes for you folks at work, but I'm going to assume you've already read them, since you had the whole weekend! You can find the forum post by Zarhym here:

The major things addressed in the PTR notes themselves are:
  • Massive PvP and Battleground changes.
  • Death Knight tanking improvements.
  • Changes that allow some DoTs to crit.
  • Modifications to how some buffs proc and their duration.
  • UI changes for the AH.
  • Dungeon Finder tweaks.
  • Quest tracking tweaks.
  • Frost orbs become a form of currency!
  • Removal of some profession cooldowns.
There's a lot of things covered in these notes, but I'm going to focus on the issues that affect PvE healers.

First off, I'm crossing my fingers that the buffs for Death Knight Tanks will make it a lot easier to keep them alive. In addition to buffing some of their threat generation abilities, Will of the Necropolis may be losing its cooldown and the limitation on the size of damage that can trigger it. Why is this important to healers? Because I can tell you from experience that healing DK tanks can be really stressful due to the amount of spiky damage they take. Anything that helps some of their damage mitigation cooldowns is a good thing for healers. I don't play a Death Knight, so I don't know how much of a buff it really is... but if the changes help DKs maintain control of mobs, that will hopefully also be a help for healers.

A lot of buffs are being changed in ways that may seem pointless. For instance, let's look at the change for Disc Priests:

"Renewed Hope: Now has a 60-second duration, up from 20 seconds, but a 20-second cooldown."

For most of you, that may seem like a silly change that won't actually make any difference. In practice, it won't - however the goal is to make these proc based buffs have 100% uptime, and hopefully to make a small improvement in performance, with less combat log repetition.

From GC:

Basically, they are balanced around more-or-less 100% uptime now. We think talents of the variety when X crits, now you can do Y are cool, but these auras really weren't in that category anymore. They were just cute ways of getting a passive buff up. Nobody tended to think Leader of the Pack was boring because it was just on all the time.

Removing the constant application and removal of these buffs (through both the passive aura and the range increase) might improve performance a tiny bit, will clean out your combat logs (which actually improves performance too), and reduce the UI and in some cases spell effect spam, which might make combat a little more easier to understand.

We'll see if it really makes any difference.

I'm pretty pumped about the Renewed Hope change, because if you are a tank healer, as a Disc Priest,
and you aren't spamming shields, it's not uncommon to forget a shield here and there, and not have 100% uptime on Renewed Hope.

Actually, Dawn pointed something out that I completely didn't know... something about Mages getting a spellpower boost when they have a shield on that absorbs damage? And how that's getting changed? I didn't even know Mages got a boost in the first place. I'm a bad priest to my arcane mage :( Havoca, why didn't you TELL ME?

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12 Responses
  1. Arioch Says:

    Don't feel bad. A quick armory glance shows that Havoca isn't specced into Incanter's Absorption.

  2. @Arioch

    Ooooo good call. Thank you for alleviating my guilt!

  3. Tiex Says:

    Oh, don't feel bad, I kept ignoring a mage that always asked for shields on him, until he showed me a talent that justified it XD

  4. Fealen Says:

    The arcane mage in my guild was just talking about taking Incanters last week cause 3/5 Holy priests in our guild went Disco >_< grrrr I think he might be thinking different now.....

    And now I won't have to spec my Holy Thrower into Disco to better the dps....yay!

  5. Hinenuitepo Says:

    DK Tanks:
    One minute they're tops, next they suck... which they have, recently.

    The changes are tremendous and should be a big help.

    The WOTN change may actually be too big, but after all it's still an emergency talent, and will help stave off death a little longer for the healers to get the tank back up. It was a very weak talent (even though I still have it in my tank spec), now it should be a nice one. Threat gen, especially from Icy Touch should be nice for tanks to keep squishies from getting wtfpwned, and you healers from feeling guilty for something dps did wrong. ;)

  6. Anonymous Says:

    I've been noticing that DK tanks just aren't as easy to heal as they used to be. Stupid ICC debuff. It really makes it a challenge... even for a dirty cheating tree like myself. I tend to keep a hot rolling on the DK tank even if I'm assigned to raid heals, in case a swiftmend is needed to "save the day."

  7. Havoca Says:

    Hey waitaminute! How'd I get thrown into this mix? I must explain myself! The reason I don't spec for Incanter's Absorption is because:

    1. I do not run often with MissMedicina (once, maybe twice a week).
    2. If I put my points in there I'd lose Icy Veins! Oh NOES!
    3. I rarely run with other Disc Priests, to be honest. When I pug something, I almost always run with a Druid or Pally healer. On the off-chance I get a priest, It's about 50/50 to get a Disc one.

    So...yeah...cough cough...yeah! Take that!

    Sigh...I'm a noob.

  8. Havoca Says:

    P.S. If not Icy Veins then something else! Oh NOES!

  9. Kayllnn Says:

    Ya, mage nerf not a huge deal. Just a bunch of smarty arcane mages using disco priests to shield them and gain sp. Most mages aren't even specd into it. Plus in all the frost fights in ICC they can still get the buff from frost ward, which is only a one min cd. Def. don't feel bad that you weren't shielding mages extra, cuz many of them didn't use this talent.

  10. Havoca Says:

    Okay, I spec'd for incanters absorption -- testing it out ...found some other areas I could peel the points from. Raided last night with MissMedicina --I don't know if it made much of a difference on my DPS/Damage than any other run.

  11. @Havoca

    Okay, I will check the logs and see if I can find anything about it. Catch me on gmail messenger or msn!

  12. @Havoca

    So, I looked through the logs, and while the uptime isn't bad, I don't think it's going to prove to be very useful, because since I'm mostly tank healing, I don't have a lot of GCDs available to put a shield on you. If I were healing the raid, it would be different. Probably just go back to what you had before - it's getting changed anyway.

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