On the identity and design goals for Preservation Evoker

The first expansion where Evokers have existed is coming to an end, and over the course of it Preservation has had several completely different playstyles and conflicting changes. While it is normal for specs to change over time Preservation never even had the chance to build an identity that wasn’t tied to a tierset before being thrown into a revolving door of buffs and nerfs that made you swap between different playstyles several times on the same tier

All the playstyles

First, to put things in context, when the expansion started we immediately got a tierset that heavily buffed reversion which made it our primary echo choice. This being the first tier where Preservation was a thing made some people believe this was supposed to be a hot-spread spec, whoever when Season 2 hit and we traded the reversion buffs in out tierset for buffs to our empowered spells we became a ramp healer with very strict timings. A lot of people quit the spec when the playstyle they liked suddenly disappeared over night

By the midpoint of season 2 we saw an up tick of popularity on a “blossom build” which was another totally different way to play the spec that didn’t rely on ramping nor hitting specific timings and completely ignored Echo (which is the 1st talent point of the spec). The spec was easy to play and did good numbers but was overshadowed by Echo builds during normal raiding because the way it did its healing wasn’t as good.

However, by the time season 3 started Resonating Sphere got heavy nerfs and Echo builds suffered which made Blossom builds edge out and become the default playstyle. Once again a lot of people who enjoyed the new season 2 playstyle re-rolled because the thing they liked became much worse.

And then 6 weeks later the Resonating Sphere nerfs were reverted on a hotfix. Once again ideal playstyle changed back to echo overnight due to a hotfix. On the 10.2.5 patch we got further buffs to Reversion and mana nerfs which solidified the echo playstyle as the best and made blossoms almost unplayable due to it running out of mana really quickly

During season 4 our season 1 tierset won the vote, which again turned us back into a hot-spread healer. And when our hero talents were revealed we saw one heavily invested into buffing empowered spells (similar to our s2 playstyle) and another that involved interactions with its own new spell

But after some testing Flameshaper turned out to not interact very well with echo, as most of the other talents don’t have any effect when you echo Engulf. This combined with several strong Blossom nodes in the tree and the fact that the Emerald Blossom mana nerfs were reversed on beta made this tree look very attractive for Blossoms builds

Finally, we got the reveal of our tierset that buffs Reversion, a spell that isn’t even mentioned anywhere in any of our hero talent trees and buffs it in a way that doesn’t make it good enough for you to want to press it in either of them

Resonating Sphere

To show how often Preservation gets changes that seem random and then are changed back eventually, you can check how Resonating Sphere has worked during the expansion:

  • 10.0.5: Applies echo to 6 targets

  • 10.0.7: Applies s echo to 4 targets

  • 10.1.0: Applies echo to 5 targets

  • 10.2.0: Applies echo to 3 targets

  • 10.2.0 (hotfix): Applies echo to 5 targets

You can end up in a situation where you are playing a certain style one week doing progress on a boss, and then over the weekend you realize that when you come back in to raid next tuesday you should be playing a completely different build with different playstyle and different timings. This doesn’t feel great

The range issue

This has been talked about a lot so i won’t go into the specific details but Preservation suffers heavily from being a healer with shorter range than the others. Blizzard has noted that our range is a weakness before but buffed out defensives to compensate for it which isn’t really a solution as certain raid mechanics force you into certain positions that defensives can’t help with

The easiest way forward is to simply give the spec 40yds, but if this is not on the plans at all it would be incredibly helpful to have it communicated so we can move forward with the knowledge that it won’t happen and stop asking for it

As a personal note, adding a range talent to priests in the latest beta build felt really bad


I believe the main problem here is communication and a lack of clear direction, the broader community of the spec doesn’t know if Blossoms is supposed to be a functioning build or not because random mana changes killed it and then brought it back again, nor if there are plans to help with the range issues or if the current goal is to simply have us deal with it as a drawback of the spec

Is the idea for the spec to freely echo everything all the time? or for different spells to be better on different patches? Should we expect an attempt to balance all spells so nothing is a clear choice or to always get a tierset that buffs one specific thing and mainly echo that thing all patch long?

Classes might get changes but Discipline priests know they are gonna spread atonements and then do damage, Druids know they are gonna be casting rejuvenation on the raid, Preservation doesn’t know which one of the two (or maybe another 3rd thing) its gonna do until our tierset is revealed and tunning is done, which really sucks