Edit: I will do my best to keep this up-to-date. Any feedback, help and corrections are appreciated.
The latest series of patches on the Return of Reckoning server aim to fulfill the original design goal of melee healers and make front-line healing viable. These changes drastically alter the way the two careers are played, including spec, tactic and stat changes. Since they need to be fine-tuned for them to be viable without being overpowered the changes are ongoing and patches are applied daily. This combined with a new way of thinking when it comes to the playstyle of these two careers and easily confused aura names makes many players scratch their heads and rage in exasperation at the patch notes.
Rage no more! Here comes an up-to-date, albeit slightly condescending guide aimed at making these changes understandable to the dummies (I say this lovingly, really).
This post will be colour-coded for ease of reading:
- Disciple of Khaine changes are highlighted in red.
- Warrior Priest changes are highlighted in blue.
- General changes that affect both careers aren’t coloured.
Since most of the changes are directly tied to the Covenant/Prayers majority of the confusion stems from readers mixing up which aura is which and what spec tree it is a part of. I have colour-coded those as well:
- Prayer of Devotion/Covenant of Vitality (damage + heal proc aura) – Path of Grace/Path of Sacrifice
- Prayer of Righteousness/Covenant of Celerity (damage proc aura) – Path of Wrath/Path of Torture
- Prayer of Absolution/Covenant of Tenacity (armor aura) – Path of Salvation/Path of Dark Rites
The complete, merged, slightly re-ordered and up-to-date patch notes will be displayed in quotes. Below them are easy to read interpretations.
– The regeneration of a Tome or Chalice now scales with the Morale scaler. With no morale bonus (less than 18 enemies nearby) these items will not regenerate any mechanic points. With full morale bonus (72 or more enemies nearby), these items will regenerate at their full rate.
– Switching between the Prayers of Absolution and Prayer of Devotion or the Covenant of Tenacity and Covenant of Vitality invokes a 15 second cooldown for all Prayers and Covenants.
– Switching to or from Prayer of Righteousness or Covenant of Celerity results in a 5 minute cooldown instead.
– If a lifestealing skill has the damage split from Guard defended by the guarding tank, the heal portion of the skill will act as though it had hit.
- Offhand items for both careers no longer reliably generate mechanic points in smaller fights, instead their respective aura in the healing tree (Prayer of Absolution/Covenant of Tenacity) generates 8 Righteous Fury/Soul Essence per second, as indicated below. This means that to remain effective in the role of a backline healer the player must use their respective armor aura (Path of Salvation/Path of Dark Rites). However in large scale combat with 18 or more enemies the Tome/Chalice will provide an additional bonus to the player using them, which scales with the number of the enemies nearby.
- Each aura now has additional mechanics tied to it (see below for details on each) and will now invoke cooldowns when toggling them on or switching between them. Changing between Prayer of Absolution/Covenant of Tenacity (armor auras) and Prayer of Devotion/Covenant of Vitality (damage + heal proc auras) will invoke a 15 second cooldown on ALL auras. Any switching or toggling of Prayer of Righteousness/Covenant of Celerity (damage proc aura) will invoke a 5 minute cooldown on ALL auras.
- The change to guard means that even though the damage portion of your lifestealing abilities (Sigmar’s Radiance/Transfer Essence and Divine Assault/Rend Soul) will be reduced by hitting a guarded target the healing they provide will not be reduced in effectiveness. This allows a melee healer to effectively heal from the frontlines where most targets are either tanks or careers guarded by those tanks.
Prayer of Absolution and Covenant of Tenacity:
+ Provides 8 Righteous Fury / Soul Essence per second.
+ Converts your Strength and Melee Power bonus from items into Willpower and Healing Power.
– Reduces your armor by 50%. This is a multiplicative modifier, and thus also reduces the effect of potions, talismans and debuffs for armor.
- Passive mechanic point regen is now partially tied to the armor aura (Path of Salvation/Path of Dark Rites) instead of only the offhand item and the two will stack. This coupled with the fact that your offensive melee stats will be converted into willpower means that a frontline melee healer can easily transform roles. For example; a Disciple double wielding two swords can simply switch to Covenant of Tenacity and begin healing from the backline with decent effectiveness. Such a healer might be missing relevant morales and tactics and not be specced to the full effectiveness of casted heals but is much better off than simply casting heals with no willpower conversion or Soul Essence regeneration.
- The armor reduction is not as bad as it seems, it brings the two careers close to the armor of other cloth healers if they engage in backline healing. This is a sacrifice the player needs to make to retain healing power similar to the pre-patch state, however together with the other changes it is a buff to versatility, as outlined below. Additionally, as pointed out by Adei here, with all armor contribution being cut in half armor debuffs are also only half as effective on Warrior Priests and Disciples.
Prayer of Devotion and Covenant of Vitality:
+ Converts your Willpower and Healing Power bonus from items into Strength and Melee Power.
+ You will gain 50% of your Strength bonus from items as Willpower whenever you strike a target with a Path of Grace or Path of Sacrifice ability.
This effect stacks up to three times and lasts for 12 seconds and will be removed if you remove the Prayer or Covenant.
+ Your detaunt will gain the effect of the Intimidating Repent or Terrifying Aura tactic, becoming AoE. The cooldown for the granted AoE detaunt increases to 25 seconds.
+ Sigmar’s Radiance and Transfer Essence now gain 20% strikethrough, healing for 250% of the damage dealt and mitigated. This value will increase with the Grace of Sigmar and Empowered Transfer tactics.
+ Divine Assault and Rend Soul will heal for 75% more, will heal for the mitigated value as well and become undefendable.
- This changes Prayer of Devotion/Covenant of Vitality to the default aura for frontline melee healing. The conversion of stats also means that a purely willpower based backline healer can switch to this aura and start using melee abilities to heal, as their healing stats will be converted into melee stats. Additionally when using this aura your armor values will be restored to the pre-patch state and you will gain an AoE detaunt even without having the Intimidating Repent/Terrifying Aura tactic slotted (or a two-handed weapon for Warrior Priests).
- The stacking willpower bonus will get applied to you when you use Path of Grace/Path of Sacrifice melee abilities and will convert ANY willpower/strength bonuses from items. For example: a character with a 500 willpower bonus (but no strength bonus) from items will gain 500 strength when switching to Prayer of Devotion/Covenant of Vitality. They will now gain a bonus of 250 willpower every time they attack with a Path of Grace/Path of Sacrifice melee ability, stacking up to three times to a total of 750 willpower.
- The above means that switching to Prayer of Devotion/Covenant of Vitality when being focused by a melee train and hitting the enemy a few times with Sigmar’s Radiance/Transfer Essence will increase the strength of your casted heals in addition to giving you all the survivability tools listed above. You are getting rewarded for being able to mix melee and casted healing instead of being a pure backline healer.
- The buff to Sigmar’s Radiance/Transfer Essence aims to ensure melee healing is reliable by making those attacks have 20% strikethrough, which means that those attacks are 20% less likely to be defended (in other words, ignoring 20% of the enemy’s block/parry). In addition Divine Assault/Rend Soul is undefendable, which means that it cannot be blocked or parried, and all of the lifesteal abilities are largely unmitigable, in the sense that the damage being mitigated by armor/resists and toughness will not impact the healing value. Keep in mind that percentage increases and reductions in damage still affect these abilities and that absorbed damage (through absorb shields) will still not produce any healing. For example; if a Warrior Priest hits a target with Sigmar’s Radiance for 200 total damage with 100 of it being mitigated the result will be a heal for 2.5 times the total value – 500. If he has Divine Fury slotted but is debuffed by a tank’s Challenge the two effects combine for the total damage of 190 and healing value of 475.
Prayer of Righteousness:
+ Convert your Willpower and Healing Power bonus from items into Strength and Melee Power.
+ The damage inflicted by Path of Wrath skills increases based on your Righteous Fury level, to a maximum of 40%.
– You will lose 5 Righteous Fury per second to power this effect. The drain will occur for 10 seconds after the last time Prayer of Righteousness amplified the damage of a Path of Wrath skill. This does not occur when a DoT ticks, but it does occur when you proc the Prayer of Righteousness through dealing direct damage.
+ When you trigger your Prayer of Righteousness, it will increase your movement speed by 20% for 5 seconds. This will only affect you.
Covenant of Celerity:
+ Convert your Willpower and Healing Power bonus from items into Strength and Melee Power.
+ The damage inflicted by Path of Torture skills increases based on your Soul Essence level, to a maximum of 25%.
– You will lose 5 Soul Essence per second to power this effect. The drain will occur for 10 seconds after the last time Covenant of Celerity amplified the damage of a Path of Torture skill. This does not occur when a DoT ticks, but it does occur when you proc the Covenant of Celerity through dealing direct damage.
- The willpower to strength conversion mostly serves covering any weird itemisation decisions made by Mythic (they sometimes thought it was a good idea to put willpower on melee items) and enables Warrior Priests and Disciples to not need a second set to be able to farm in PvE or even for a bit of RvR melee dps shenanigans. Largely a quality of life change.
- The damage increase is there in order to make these two careers viable as a melee DPS option when using Prayer of Righteousness/Covenant of Celerity. Although their healing capabilities when doing so are reduced because of a Righteous Fury/Soul Essence drain coupled with an incentive to not spend their mechanic points, as they provide increased damage.
- Any decision to switch from a pure backline healer to a melee dps on the spot is very obviously discouraged and punished with this iteration of the changes, which is why a very long cooldown is in place when switching to and from Prayer of Righteousness/Covenant of Celerity.
- The speed buff when switching to Prayer of Righteousness is an attempt to equalise the auras of Warrior Priests to the Disciple ones (Covenant of Celerity proc applies a snare).
– The M2 group cleanse Khaine’s Withdrawal will no longer cleanse the Curse type.
Sigmar’s Shield has been rebalanced:
+ Duration down to 7 seconds from 20.
+ Base healing value down to 10-75 from 20-150.
+ Sigmar’s Shield now scales with Willpower at half the normal rate.
+ Sigmar’s Shield now consumes 15 Righteous Fury per second rather than 15 Righteous Fury every activation.
+ Sigmar’s Shield has a 20% strikethrough.
+ Absence of Faith the cooldown is now 10 seconds and will debuff heals by 50%.
- Since Disciples are unable to cleanse curses a nerf to Khaine’s Withdrawal means that they now have a debuff vulnerability, bringing them in line with the vulnerabilities of all the other healers.
- Sigmar’s Shield used to be a terrible ability that would drain your Righteous Fury very fast while providing very little healing. The drain has now been changed to a constant value, much like the Disciples’ Devour Essence, the healing has been increased and it now scales off willpower, which means that Warrior Priests can make use of the willpower stacks from Prayer of Devotion.
- The Warrior Priest ability Absence of Faith which used to debuff incoming healing on a target by 25% got the value increase to 50% and the duration now allows for 100% uptime on a single target (in order to mirror it somewhat to the Disciple version).
– The group cleansing tactics Cleansing Power/Efficient Patching will no longer cause the cleanse to be untargeted, and it will cleanse either your groupmates or yourself, but not both.
+ Hammer of Sigmar/Wracking Agony inflicts 20-150 base damage and 53-399 improved damage, and will always critically hit when improved.
- Previously Cleansing Power/Efficient Patching enabled the two careers to cleanse the group by simply pushing a button. Now it needs a target and is exploitable by the enemy, as the player has to risk not having it available for either himself or his group.
- The changes to the damage of these two abilities from the Path of Wrath/Path of Torture was done in preparation for the bigger Warrior Priest/Disciple changes that followed.
That’s it for now. For more information you should check out the RoR forums. To understand the rationale behind these changes you should read the original post on experimental changes by Azarael here.