Category Archives: Priest

The Cataclysmic Priest in WoW

Back before we knew much about what was coming in Cataclysm, I wrote this article. It detailed some of the changes I’d seen and talked about how the focus for Holy and Discipline Priests could change a bit. What I didn’t know then was what it would be like to actually play one of those specs with the new abilities, talents, and glyphs.

I’ve been taking Annasteezia through the dungeon finder here, and there, trying to gain the skills necessary to be a good Disc healer. When she’s doing her Jewelcrafting daily or just questing, I keep her in her Shadow spec. Then I noticed the Archangel deal…

Well, I’m only 75 so I can’t get to that part of the Discipline tree while Shadow-specced, so if I want to check that out, I’m going to have to do it in Discipline, right? I’m still not quite comfortable enough as a healer to be Smiting, so that means I’ll have to do it solo. This is a transcript of my experience.

Discipline spec? Check. Let’s go find some mobs.

Look at Evangelism and Archangel talents again. Realize that those no longer do what we thought they would do.

Become completely bummed about Discipline dps spec.

Switch back to Shadow. Complete JC quest.

Well, it could have been interesting. Maybe I should just nut up and queue to heal, then start Smiting. Seriously, I haven’t even had Smite on my toolbar since I got Shadowform.



No one wants that. This dreaded declaration announces to your party that the heals or dps are now at an end. It’s assumed, of course, that you’ve already used all the tools at your disposal to rectify the situation. What could you have done to keep from landing in this spot?

It all boils down to your style of play, and the main question to ask yourself is “how much time do I spend outside the 5-second rule?”

This chart should give you some idea of what you’re looking for in the way of gear, gems, enchants, and consumables. Some priests may have totally different play styles for dps and healing; however, they should also have two sets of gear, each of which can be gemmed / enchanted as needed and food buffs are especially easy to come by. You ARE fishing and cooking, right? RIGHT?

Since we want to get the most bang for our mana-buck, it’s a good idea to get familiar with the specifics of each of our spells, both healing and dps. DPS = damage per second; HPS = heal per second; DPM = damage per mana; HPM = heal per mana; HuOOM = heals until out-of-mana.

I don’t know about you, but math was never my strong point. I’m fascinated by it, but rather like a sharp knife, it turns in my hand and cuts me before I’m able to use it as a tool. For this reason I rely on a can’t-live-without addon called Dr. Damage, available for download at Curse Gaming. This hot little number adds to the Blizzard tooltip, giving you all of the information I listed above. It takes your talents and + healing / + damage into consideration so all we really have to do is mouseover the abilities on our toolbars and get comfy with the information.

Using my lvl 65 Shadow Priest with 350 Int, 218 Spi, 409 +dam – self-buffed only, in dps gear:

Vampiric Touch, costs 400 Mana and takes 1.5 seconds to Cast. Standard dps is 660 shadow damage over 15 seconds. I can see from the Dr.Damage tooltip that my +Damage adds 517.4 for the base, for a total of 1265 damage. Wait – 660 base + 517.4 additional does not equal 1265. Well, I have fully talented Shadow Weaving and Misery, and this additional damage is figured in on an average. See? This is why we don’t try math at home, kids. It’s just too scary.

While we’re talking math, it’s important to note that long-cast-time and channeled spells get the most boost from our +damage; instant-cast, direct-damage spells get the least.

Let’s switch over to Prin’s healing gear set and check out the mana-efficiency of those heals.

Now we’re talking 368 Int, 247 Spi, 551 +healing, and 259 MP5 (93 MP5 while casting).

Greater Heal (Rank 6) has a base of 2090-2427. Add my +healing and we get an average of 2861. This little number crits for an average of 4092, which is awesome. My Flash Heal (Rank 8) bases at 931-1078; with +healing it’s an average of 1237 and crits for about 1856. But since we’re talking about mana efficiency and avoiding the dreaded “OOM,” the most important statistics to look for here are HPM & Heal til OOM.

GH6 offers 3.8 points of healing for each point of my mana; I can apply 31,794 points of healing before I’m sidelined. Flash, however, only gives up 3.2 HPM and after 26,774 points of healing, I’m out of the game. If I can time my heals correctly and stay out of the weeds, GH is going to be the better deal. What about Renew? Well, Rank 11 gives a base of 1010 HP over 15 seconds, and actually averages ~1561 HP. HPM caluates out to 3.6, 26,057 until OOM. Because it’s a HoT it gets the full benefit from +healing as opposed to Flash, which get’s less than half. So, even though you can heal less through Renew before OOM, it’s still a more mana-efficient solution than Flash Heal.

Of course, all of this math and theorycrafting is useless unless you’re willing to get out there and try it out live. Spend some time with each of the dps styles, offer to heal a lower-level dungeon for leveling guildies, find out where you’re comfortable and where you’re challenged. Just, for the love of god, don’t be stick-whacking anything. You’ll make us all look bad.

Typical Elitist

Priests are known for being a bit… egotistical. But we really can’t help it, we HAVE to know everything about every class. If we’re in shadowform, we have to know at what point the various tank classes can maintain aggro in the face of our uberleet dps. If we’re healing, then we need to understand both the threat generation and mitagation skills of our tank. We also need to know about the threat-dumping abilities available to the dps classes in our party. (Ahem. Do not stand next to the hunter.)

Having said that – I got the BIGGEST kick out of a post by Idialog Maiev-US on the official WoW Priest forum. I’m reading along, smiling and nodding, totally digging his droll delivery. I’m also taking mental notes here and there, since healing hasn’t really been a specialty of mine. (Healing can be fun, but it doesn’t hold a Kobold Candle to scavenging ideas ABOUT healing and then debating them with D.)

Then I get to the part about, ‘I learned a couple of days ago that there was like this spell to buff everyone at once, and I was all like, “yeah, sweet”, but then I found out it like costs money to cast, so I was all like, “oh, damn.” I ain’t payin’ to give a damn mage more hitpoints. That’s just crazy talk.’ and I was all like, whoa, maybe this isn’t as tongue-in-cheek as I thought, perhaps it’s more like satire and all of these tips are designed to get me labeled “n00b healer” and /kicked from groups…

I’d rather take a blow to the face than to the ego. Priest, you know. /shrug

So, today we got a twofer: not only am I sharing a good laugh, I’m also doing a little research on 5-man healing. Let’s see if there’s a kernel or two of truth in there.

1. Only use GH rank 7 on druid / well-geared warrior tanks. I’d be willing to agree to this, but most of the prot-pallies I’ve run with had comparable HP. Let’s say I agree with GH7 on tanks, and a down-ranked GH4 for other classes. With decent +healing that ought to keep everyone topped off and limit the amount of over-healing you do. PoM – while this is an awesome spell to toss out if your party is taking AoE damage, it’s not really a “set it and forget it” ability. Having Prayer on your tank doesn’t mean you can ignore your dps classes if / when they start taking damage.

Also, do pallies really regain mana when they receive heals? Yes, Spiritual Attunement is a passive skill available at level 18 (and upgraded to 10% at level 66). Pallies are unique to tanking classes in that they use mana instead of rage – I can’t think of any reason why you shouldn’t drop a renew on your Tankadin just before the pull. Also, the S’Priest in me drools when I think about how much love Mr. Loltank will have for my VT / VE

  • VE feeds him health with each point of shadow damage I do.
  • VT feeds him mana with each point of shadow damage I do.
  • Feeding him health (heals) feeds him even more mana due to his SA.

2. I’m going to have to play my bull**** card on this one. I’ve played all of the non-hybrid dps classes, and I’ve never had a priest refuse to buff the entire party. Yeah, it consumes quite a bit of mana before you get Prayer of Fortitude, and it consumes a reagent after, but still – it doesn’t happen.

3. Again, attitude aside, I agree. My squishy little presence isn’t going to save the day once the tank and dps buy it, so no need to take one for the team and go toes-up myself. The one nugget of wisdom here is common sense – rez the classes who can ALSO rez first.

4. Total silliness. I haven’t raided on my Priest yet, but I have taken two toons to Kara and I’ve watched D raid-heal on both a priest and a shaman. There is NO time for any dpsing as a healer. Besides, you’d be better off tossing a SW:P and then wanding.

5. Awesome. Just awesome. Rule #1 – it’s never my fault. Rule #2 – if I appear to be at fault, refer to Rule #1.

/cast Lightwell

/s Heal yourself, *****.