Just got out of playing my first set of games with the updated rework Whitemane, and I'm a bit mixed on it. The direction is clearly the correct direction, but it only addresses some of the problems.
E build is certainly among the most fun, if not the most fun its ever been. Its talents seem a little messy however, and results in E utterly dominating talent tiers 1 and 13. In my opinion, it might be better to switch Lashing Out and Harsh Discipline around again, as Lashing Out would better compete with Radiance under the current build.
The addition of auto desperation removal on Inquisition (and technically Clemency, though that was already a thing) has been a severe buff to Radiance, and adding Fanatical Power back via including it in Whitemane's trait has made it completely dominant over the level 16 talent tier. This is less a problem with Radiance however, and more a problem with Whitemane's level 16 tier not having relatively weak competition with it. A root is useful, sure, but a massive team wide burst heal is generally going to outperform it.
Saintly Greatstaff at 50 damage base simply isn't strong enough to compete with Subjugation or with Lashing Out. The patch notes stated 75, and at 75, I think it would still be outperformed by Lashing Out. Moreover, the talent is rather fiddly, with it being able to be set off twice off of a single cast of E with perfect auto attack timing. Given this is less than a half second window (AA startup time, animation flight time), and is all but required to maximize the value of the talent, this should probably be changed. In my opinion, Saintly Greatstaff should be allowed to apply up to twice on a target, represented by 2 lights under the target's healthbar
The return on Fanatical Power, now as part of Whitemane's trait is welcome. It might be slightly undertuned at 25% for 25% (Glass cannon is always up and does the same thing, just 15% for 15%) at a 60 second cooldown. As it's baseline now, increasing to its old damage value would not make much sense, as it's gained for free, but it will probably be better if reduced down to a 45 second cooldown. Overall though, this change makes Whitemane feel vastly more like a healer who can go burst mage in a pinch
The increase in damage to Whitemane's AA's to offset the loss of attack speed (Really just bringing it back to where it was) was a good change. Further numbers tuning might be needed here, but it feels fine enough and I can't really complain. Unwavering Faith really limits how high this can go.
The removal of mana cost from clemency has certainly fixed Whitemane's mana economy problems, but I'm uncertain if it was the right call here. Free healing is free healing, and I'm worried this might become a problem with future changes and adjustments. As of right now however, her mana economy feels fine. You still need to hearth after major fights, and mana management is integral, but you're no longer OOM all of the time regardless of what you're doing and more importantly, no longer want to choke teammates for running out of clemency.
Aegis and Reckoning are now much more competitive. With the return of Fanatical Power, Reckoning has seen a direct increase to its effectiveness, and actually chokes Aegis at 90s out of play entirely barring anti-burst setups. At 70 seconds, Aegis will likely be on relatively even ground with the FP boosted, mana restoring Reckoning. I'd say there is an extremely good chance that Whitemane's Ults will be extremely competitive with eachother
Aegis cooldown never made it to live (Blizzard plz) and needs to be hotfixed in, along with Saintly Greatstaff being vastly weaker on live than in patch notes.
At this point, I think with some slight tuning, E build will be fast paced, aggressive and reliant on PvP to heal, while posing a threat to enemy players in its own right. Unwavering Faith fits much cleaner into Whitemane's kit with Saintly Greatstaff now being all about E spam mark and detonate play. For a character with no utility, this is an extremely good thing.
W build is still a non-starter. With no talent support at 4 or 7, as well as its level 1 talent being cooldown reduction (Said talent is however, good, just can't be picked atm), and no healing output support until 16, combined with a long inherent cooldown, There is still no reason to talent for W.
Whitemane's existing W talents are actually all extremely good. Harsh Discipline, Subjugation and Shared Punishment are all extremely effective talents in their own right. Pity the Frail is an oddity, but still works well. But the opening for getting a W build started is level 13, and by that point, you could have a 25% damage amp to your E, a 15-90% amp to your AA's, AA's refreshing zeal, and E marking targets for AA's. Without talent support earlier in Whitemane's Talent Tree, Whitemane's AA talents will continue to make taking Whitemane's W talents feel bad.
The obvious fix to this is simply to give Whitemane a talent at 4 and possibly also at 7 that interacts with Inquisition. A ramping damage talent was the most popular when I asked what talents Whitemane should get for her W, though there is also room to give it a DoT effect, a "on channel completion" effect like Azmodan, or countless other options.
Overall though, Whitemane feels playable again. Her identity is returning, though her talent diversity is still rather dead in the water. I'm more mixed on the precise nature of the fixes (Free healing), than on the direction they are going. Another patch or two like this and Whitemane might actually become an extremely popular healer.
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