Planned Changes for Clerics in 1.7

It’s been a while in-between posts again. Grim has been lazy. Bad Grim! I swear I have a couple sitting in the drafts folder, but they’re mostly about the awesomeness of 1.6, and now that 1.6 is drawing to a close it feels a bit weird to toss them out there. Maybe I should, I’m sure there’s people that have gone on to that other game with the glowsticks who might not know all the glories of the Ember Isle. Anyway, as I am wont to do, posting at 1:30am that is, here we go. 1.7 is on the horizon and we’ve got a load of notes from the Cleric dev lead.

Right, so if you’re not a Cleric or have no interest in it, bugger off. Thanks. Otherwise you’re just going to see me whine about a class that I really do enjoy playing profusely.

 (pulled from the forums, comments denoted by — )

Planned Changes for Clerics in 1.7
Hey everyone, just wanted to let you know the current list of proposed Cleric changes now that I’m done with most them and have a chance to post. Most of these will go up with the next PTS push. The rest will probably come in with the push after that.

Obviously remember that none of this stuff is final. Some of these changes may not even end up going Live, depending how things shake out in testing. Also remember that this is not an exhaustive list of every change we ever plan on making to Clerics or a representation of every issue that may concern us. 

Clerics
Updated the tooltips on pretty much everything.
This is part of a larger effort to increase the readability of tooltips in general. You’ll also notice that values for damage numbers and the like now include Spell Power, buffs, and whatnot. The goal is that when for example, Bolt of Judgment says it deals 100 damage, that’s how much damage it actually does. Resists, buffs, and debuffs on the target may change that, but that’s the amount of damage you will do.
— Obviously, this is something that probably should have been corrected a year ago in beta.

Cabalist
Dark Passage: Now teleports 10 meters forward. -(prior: 10-15m random)
— A reasonable fix, although it comes with a 5m range nerf. The cabalist is the wannabe RDPS class, but it has too much utility stapled to it to be an elite class. The last big changes addressed playability, but nothing to address scalability into end-game content. There are no pure cabalists in raids, and the few classes that hybrid into it go 22 points at best.

Druid
Trickster Spirit, Slothful Spirit, Spiteful Spirit: These have all been changed to spells that deal Earth damage and work from 30 meters. -(prior: melee range, physical damage)
Eruption of Life: Now triggers off of any damage. -(prior: on melee hit)
Faerie Healing: Increased the healing amount.
Faerie’s Favor: Now instacast. Increased the healing amount. Now affects up to 4 additional party or raid members within a 20 meter radius if cast by the Greater Faerie. -(prior: 2s cast, ST)
Mead Rush: New ability usable by the Satyr. Charges at the enemy and deals damage. Has a 10 second cooldown.
Fury of the Fae: The Satyr will now also autocast this when out of combat.
“I do want to specify right now though that the Druid will not become a full support soul. There are currently no plans to add a full support soul to the Cleric in the foreseeable future.”
— Adding 3 ranged abilities, with Bombard makes it 4, and a charge to the Satyr sure looks like this class is moving away from melee. On top of that you have a sleep and silence that can be cast at range, and an unbreakable 4s root to escape with. In fact, you can hit all 4 of your ranged abilities and rotate casting sleep, shield of the oak, and stone burst with little reason to get in melee range if your satyr is beating on things. That’s assuming of course that the spirits are going to be doing more reasonable damage under an elemental type. Those 4 melee abilities? Toss em out, Druid looks like a half-assed RDPS/Support soul now. Druid is now totally ignoreable, you will not see them in raids or dungeons, possibly in PvP but as a prestige pinata pretending to heal debuff.

Inquisitor
Corporal Punishment: Now lasts 12 seconds. -(prior: 5s duration)
— As if this buff weren’t permanently up, in reality it’s a token buff to the soul at best. Inq is the best DPS soul Clerics have. A single buff will not put them anywhere near the ranks of true dps warriors, rogues, and mages. Perhaps 1.8 will bring us a real Cleric DPS soul. They will need to try a lot harder to retain their position as a raid healer DPS, the Inquisicar is not dead, but will have tons of mana problems which will bite hard into it’s DPS in raids.

Shaman
Battle Charge: Reduced cooldown to 10 seconds. -(prior: 15s CD)
Brutalize: Now deals 30-60% of Massive Blow’s damage over 10 seconds. Reduced maximum stack size to 3. -(prior: 10-20% over 4s. stack size unknown, ticks perhaps?) 
Dauntless Courage: Now affects all melee damage. -(prior: physical damage)
Vengeance of the Frozen Earth: Removed. -(prior: snare on hit)
Ekkehard’s Invocation: Now spell available in tier 3. Instacast, ranged, and deals Air damage.
Favored of the Valnir: Now increases the duration of Lightning by 4-8 seconds, causing increased damage on each additional tick. -(prior: increased healing received 5-10%)
— The Shaman is getting buffed, but changing. Battle Charge is now your only snare with the removal of Frozen Earth (which was admittedly situational, and typically PvP only), on a shorter cooldown which helps with a handful of bosses in recovery from KB’s. Dauntless Courage is a significant buff, but won’t be noticed on the overall parse as more than 2%. Lightning Hammer will be at the bottom of the rotation unless it stacks with itself, Lightning Hammer is on a 6s CD, increasing the duration will remove it from any macro to increase it’s total damage. This could be a non-factor depending on scalability of the tick, yet to be seen. For me, I’d place it a priority above Crushing Blow and be done with it. Chances are I’m wasting some of that additional harder hitting duration. Pending DPS tests, this ability may be passed up entirely. Replacing Frozen Earth with Ekkehard’s Invocation will allow Shamans to close in on a target while dealing damage. Being Air damage, it’s another reason to throw points in Stormborn. However, I’d rather not add a ranged ability to Shaman. Also, a comment states that it will do less damage than CB. If that’s the case, why not cut it’s damage in half and have it apply a snare, then turn Battle Charge into a stun or root. Shaman’s ability to hold onto a target in PvP will be diminished, and it’s usefulness as a spec as well.

Justicar
Reprieve: Increased the effect of Spell Power.
Healer’s Creed: Now increases the healing you receive by 5-10%. -(prior: reduce mana cost of doctrines 15-30%)
Light Makes Right: Now functions properly immediately after purchasing.
— Copy+paste the old Shaman ability into the Justicar and nerf the shit out of -icar healers in one fell swoop. The calling takes a hefty blow with this change, and not enough love to make up for it. Any resentment towards the Cleric Lead will be over the misuse of this nerf. By that I mean (/rant), if they were going to dick about with nerfing DoL, it should have been to remove it from easy access ranks to allow our DPS souls to actually DPS without having to -icar in order to be useful. None of our DPS souls compete with a Warrior, Mage, or Rogue that’s attempting to make pretty red numbers. Not one. They’re all supplemented by easy group healing and that’s fucking annoying(/endrant). Reprieve is a token buff, but still not on par to a warrior tanks big self heal. No significant change however to the role they’re intended
to play. So as a tank, not much changes. As an offspec, you’re reaching for a mana potion a bit more frequently in extended fights.

Purifier
Surging Flames: The triggered heal now has a 20 meter radius. -(prior: 15m)
Divine Cascade: Removed. -(prior: target deals damage to nearby enemies when healed)
Gathering of the Ancestors: New spell available at 38. Puts an absorb shield on up to 10 party or raid members within 35 meters. Applies a blocker that prevents being affected by it again for 20 seconds (this is a different blocker from the one applied by Ward of the Ancestors and the two don’t block each other, but they don’t stack). 30 second cooldown.
Asphodel’s Purifier Crystal: 4 point bonus now reduces damage taken by 7% for 10 second. Now overwrites and cannot be overwritten by Protect the Flock. -(prior: no idea, however this buff overwrites the 5% damage reduction buff for a whopping net bonus of 2%)
Rise of the Phoenix: New spell available at 44 points. Resurrects with 50% health and mana. Usable in combat.
— Finally the healing classes, apparently what Clerics have to do if they want to be in a raid for any reason. We don’t get a buffing soul, we’re not allowed to DPS on par with anyone, we can raid heal (warden or -icar) or main heal. Purifier is probably the best tank healer with the combination of absorbs and big heals. Stretching out Surging Flames probably isn’t going to make much of a difference, it’s nice to splash a bit extra during raid damage. Divine Cascade was a worthless ability, good riddance. The new Gathering spell however starts to point to a Purifier that needs to be taking on a group oriented role. I don’t understand why one of the best ST healers is getting better AOE damage mitigation. Gathering way better than Cascade, but it doesn’t really fit. This seems like something that would be better suited to Warden. Alas, usefulness in a raid solidifies Purifiers in their role as a main healer. No harm, just a confusing foul.

Sentinel
Healing Communion -(prior: 15m), Healing Benediction -(prior: range not specified) : Both now have a 20 meter radius.
Marked by the Light : Now has a 15 meter radius. -(prior: range not specified)
Life’s Return: Now has a 5 minute cooldown.
— Sentinel has a bit more in the way of AE healing, but is still a stronger ST healer. Instead of getting individual spells buffed, it has radii increased. Was this an issue somewhere that I’m not aware of? Are there fights that have pure healers scrambling to hit players that have wandered too far off? I’ve been through most of the raid fights in the game and I can only think of a couple. But still they would be covered by -icar specs over these increases. A disappointing pass for Sentinel.

Warden
Waterjet: Reduced its benefit from Spell Power.
Healing Showers -(prior: 7m) , Orbs of the Tide -(prior: 10m) : Both now have a 20 meter radius.
Healing Cataract: Now has a 25 meter radius and affects 10 party or raid members. -(prior: 15m, 5 players)
Ripple: Now has a 20 meter radius. -(prior: 15m)
Cascade: No longer costs mana.
River of Life: New spell available at 44 points. Resurrects with 50% health and mana. Usable in combat.
— Warden makes the most sense (of the three) to expand the AE raid heals. Giving Healing Cataract to 10 players will make the spell worth thinking about even though it’s very deep in the tree at 44 points. The massive expansion for Healing Showers (31pt) will help quite a bit. Orbs of the Tide is generally on the tank, which is the center of the raid area which should help as well. What I don’t like is seeing Waterjet getting nerfed out of the blue, regardless of the amount. Warden from 0-5pt is a great staple for DPS classes due to efficiency of Waterjet as a default ranged poke, the 4pt KB, and the bonus to instant cast damage. This is just flagrant, and flies in the face of the problems that DPS clerics have had for months now. The only justification that I can figure is the 11pt tree ability in Shaman may have been less powerful than Waterjet, even buffed, and the Lead didn’t want to see Waterjet being used over his new ability. Which has it’s own problems.

So there it is, I’m a jaded Cleric with expectations for that calling that simply aren’t being met by the Cleric lead on pretty much any front.

We’re consistently behind on DPS in all souls no matter how much we try to stack things. The only true function our DPS souls have at the moment is -icar and spamming heals during very obvious points in AE raid damage while barely cracking the DPS chart. Our Druid is beyond broken and the Lead still wants to repurpose it as DPS (or something) but there’s just too much utility built into it to be anything BESIDES support. Not to mention, the changes in 1.7 do nothing for it’s DPS and do more to REINFORCE it’s position as a support role that it’s not supposed to have.

Our Tanking soul is a third rate citizen, the only thing we really have going for us is the ability to hold aggro by spamming DoL, which when your OT is trying to hold a secondary mob, really isn’t all the useful after all. Being able to direct our overheal aggro would do wonders, maybe tossing Righteous Mandate on an enemy would redirect overheal aggro to it. Also, why are we wearing bucklers? Warrior shields would give us a large chunk of armor, stats, and additional chances at loot, hell convert all the bucklers and let two callings share the pool of shields. It can all be Warrior stats, that’s fine. We like Warrior stats for tanking because they actually help with mitigation. 

Our healing souls are becoming more alike each other with each iteration because for some reason the Lead is finding it hard to pinpoint what specific abilities he wants to define each soul. It’s really not that hard, and I don’t know why it’s getting treated like a complex equation. Purifier does absorbs, Sentinel does big ST heals, Warden does HoTs. The thing looming over the head of every healing cleric however is the competition from chloromances that can generally pump out just as much healing and still dps inbetween other support classes and our weak ass Cleric DPS.

Where the hell is the synergy between our souls? They’re all built so sterile. Our DPS are bound the the -icar, but that’s hardly any kind of synergy if it’s a forced position and EVERY DPS soul is tied to it. In theory the Cabalist and Inquisitor should work together, but both of them have 36pt abilities that escalate their core abilities to the point of usefulness in other directions as they get closer to 51. The healers are drawing closer to parity with each other and suffer from much of the same thing. How is it with a class as varied as Cleric, we can’t seem to figure out how to be as much fun to build and play as any of the other Callings? The Lead is focusing on a limited number of specific builds that work, and seems to be ignoring specs that COULD work instead.

What’s really funny, despite all the problems I’ve gone over here, I still enjoy playing this Cleric more than any other game so far. I just think there’s some obvious things that could be fixed and tweaked, as does the community, but we’re getting the classic dev reaction of “Daddy knows best” while seemingly systematically ignoring input from the community for direction on what they find “fun” to play.

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