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Thursday, August 6, 2009

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WoW: Priest Q&A
6:00 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Blizzard Entertainment has posted the latest in its series of World of Warcraft class Q&As. This time Ghostcrawler and the World of Warcraft Development Team focused on the Priest. The discussion covered a range of topics including the Priest's role in the game, elements unique to the class, and future plans.

Q: Where do priests fit in the current scope of things, and where do you see them from this point going forward? What makes them unique?
Ghostcrawler: When you think of the priest in the context of traditional MMOs you think of the token healer, usually part of the “holy trinity” along with the warrior and mage. Many players who picked the priest as their character when they started the game had the expectation that they would be the premier healer, playing the role of support. Certainly in the beginning of World of Warcraft the priest was the class you chose when you were looking for a healer, and the class was adept at filling that role. However, unlike in other RPGs we’ve tried to make healing a role that many classes can fill. This is why sometimes priests can feel that they aren’t balanced correctly, since they aren’t necessarily the best healer.

In World of Warcraft, the priest isn’t a stronger healer than the other classes, but does have unmatched versatility. At its core the priest has two unique talent trees for healing, while the others only have one. Furthermore, the priest has strong heal-over-time spells (HoTs), direct heals, and area-of-effect (AoE) heals. So where the power of the priest comes in is how you use your entire repertoire of healing tools together to overcome a situation, rather than focusing on one aspect. Players sometimes call this the jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none role, but we don’t really view it that way. The priest has a big toolbox. That makes you versatile, but at the cost (in player skill) of knowing how to match the right spell for the right job. The trade-off of the healing priest isn’t in trading power for versatility, but in having narrow niches for spells but a lot of spells.

One other way we’ve tried to make the priest class more enjoyable is by fleshing out its damage-dealing talent specialization (spec), the Shadow tree. In the beginning, the Shadow spec was more of a leveling tree and not really viable for high-end content late game. In The Burning Crusade, it didn’t really keep up in damage compared to other classes in raiding but it did bring strong utility. Finally, in Wrath of the Lich King we increased its damage-dealing potential to make it near that of a primary damage-per-second (dps) caster -- such as a mage -- while also retaining some of its unique utility which made it cool during The Burning Crusade.

Overall, we feel the priest is one of the most versatile classes in the game, and can be the most enjoyable of the healer classes in the game because of its feature of having two different unique talent specs providing two different types of play styles. And for players who enjoy the dps aspect, you always have the option of going to the dark side as Shadow to either melt faces in PvP or help take down foes in PvE. As for moving forward, in a nutshell we’d like to improve the Holy tree’s PvP niche and polish the Shadow tree a bit more for both aspects of the game.
Read the full article at the link below.

WoW: Priest Q&A
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• WoW: Priest Q&A6:00 AM
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