Hello there! So I have some time on my hands and some things that need procrastinating, so I thought I’d come here and do something relatively productive; writing a relatively extensive guide for holy priests. Now I’m basically writing this guide for those priests who are sick of toiling with google searches, to no avail, as they find nothing that isn’t plagued by cata or mop or whatnot. This goes out to the priests who actually want to heal end-game and need the basic fair knowledge to get them started. I might do guides for shadow and disc but for now lets stick to this. You will have to forgive me, but if you are looking for tactics on how to heal FoS heroic, you will not find them here. This guide is mainly aimed for priests with higher ambitions.
Without further ado,
II. About the author
III. Talent Builds and Play Styles
V. Gear (BiS List)
VII. Gemming(Stats weights)
Holy priests. That’s one tough nut to crack. It is very hard to write a guide for a class spec that in and of itself can be played in several different ways. In debates concerning holy priests, rarely is a resolution ever found because no one has maths or facts backing them up, rather just situational theories. We are not a cookie-cutter class like paladins who chase after intellect like there’s no tomorrow or shamans doing the same to haste. But here lies the pleasurable thing about this class, we can’t be stereotyped or properly judged just by someone inspecting us, unlike other classes, we need more than gear to be good.
II. Who I am
I’m Boonsbane, I mainly play on my priest even though I have several other well-geared characters. My priest is pretty much 95% best in slot on all 3 specs, all farmed gear, none donated. I’ve killed LK 25 hc around 50 times (probably more, I lost count) and Halion 25hc around 10-20 times, and of the raids, I’ve personally lead many of them. I’ve learned the class based on my own endeavors and it was terribly hard to find references that weren’t out of date or too up-to-date(cata) and I hope that by this guide, I will create something very liable that future priests can rely on for proper information. I intend on updating this guide with any information I may have missed, at the request of the readers, for surely I must have missed some. And more importantly, I would like to point out that if anyone has further questions they can send me a mail via these forums and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as i am able to.
III. Talent Builds and Play Styles
Note: Major spell cooldowns will be left to the very end as they are common to all specs
Notes on certain talents:
Healing Focus: Don’t even consider casting a spell if you don’t have this. Absolutely necessary if you plan on ever casting Prayer of Healing or Flash Heal
Spell Warding: Under-rated talent. Remember that most of the important damage in fights comes from spells. Taking 10% less damage from a vile spirit can and will make the difference between surviving and dying.
Desperate Prayer: An instant cast greater heal, need I say more? Say you have defile on you and you have 50% hp? Running from Rotface’s green slime while getting hammered by his spray at 10% hp? Moving from Marrowgar’s flames while at 30% hp? Pop it and live.
Holy Reach: Debatable whether to go for 0/1/2, but imo i would rather stay safe and take 2/2 especially with how spread out people are on the Frozen Throne
Body And Soul: Extremely situational spell, don’t use it for the lulz if you have a disc priest in the raid. This can save your raid from a wipe especially on the important fights such as using it on someone with defile/vile spirits/combustion/consumption.
Inspiration: If you don’t have this then you’re just bad.
This spec was the most common on molten until the renew bug got fixed. Some priests might still insist on using renew relying on the power of its HoT, but this is, in my opinion, an obsolete build.
Default spells used:
Circle of Healing on cooldown
Prayer of Mending on cooldown
Renew spam( who would’ve guessed this one, eh?)
>Certain priests like to also spec into Surge of Light and using flash heal when it procs. Suit yourself.
>Casting prayer of healing when 4-5 people take damage(esp in AoE fights) is possible. Again, suit yourself and your play style.
The talent build is a cookie-cutter one, you can edit it if you use certain spells other than renew.
This spec is the hybrid spec that allows all useful spells to be used. I strongly support this spec/playstyle for the more advanced priest as it carries out more raid benefit than the renew spamming build, and usually more hps.
1/2 Surge of Light because with high enough crit it will be enough to have it up after most of your spellcasts
2/2 Body and Soul 1/3 Test of Faith, you can play around with these interchangeably depending on the disc priest in your raid
Concerning empowered renew, letting it sit at 1/3 is definitely an option if you find yourself rarely using renew, or at least rarely using it for the instant heal effect, given the nerf(correction) that has been implemented. The reason you actually put it in that one talent point is to allow renew to still proc Surge of Light/ Holy Concentration.
Note: If you don’t want to put all the extra talent points in the aforementioned talents(SoL, BaS, ToF, ER), you can place them in Empowered Healing if you find yourself spamming flash heal and prayer of healing mostly only.
Healing spells used:
Circle of Healing on cooldown
Prayer of Mending on cooldown
Renew if one person only has lost more than 30% of his hp and there is pressure on the raid. If there is no pressure on the raid, then you can just top him off with a flash heal. Renew can also be used if no players have lost significant hp (so that its HoT can heal them up when they do lose hp)
Else, Binding Heal and Flash Heal(preferably with SoL proc) to gain serendipity stacks
Prayer of Healing: IMO best spell eu. It can result in a 100k heal in a 1.5 second cast spell. If you use this on a hunter/warlock group, it heals their pets too(they will love you)(this increases your hps and their dps through saving their pets)(they die too easily, #hunterprobs). You can Pre-cast this (ie cast it such that your cast finishes right after raid damage is taken, when predicting it is possible ie VoA). Keeping 3 stacks of Serendipity up will make this an extremely effective bomb heal that saves 5 people (extremely awesome for BQL/Sindragosa/Lady/PP/LK/most fights in the game?). Only use this if you know that 3+ people will be healed with it(3+ people have less than 80% hp), and avoid using it if you know the raid is spread out(ie right before defile hits when everyone is extremely spread out) since it has a limited range as all healing spells do
Note: For sindragosa, if you get unchained magic, only spam renew and stop using everything else.
d. Healing VDW
The renew spec works here. Basically spam Renew and Guardian Spirit till you’re done.
Edit: Given the recent nerf(correction) to empowered renew, it isn’t the best idea for you to heal VDW yourself, and if you do want to heal her, it would probably be best to keep renew up but to spam flash heal till 3x serendipity and then to cast greater heal. As a raid leader, I would let the holy paladin do it, while letting him coordinate with the priest on when the priest should use Guardian Spirit. So you’re still a key player by popping GS properly, but the paladin’s healing will be more efficient than yours. Sorry folks.
Common Spells for Everything!:
/cast Inner Focus /cast Divine Hymn : Your oh-****-we’re-gonna-wipe button. Use it when you panic. Good for BQL’s flying phase for example. And for panic boats.
Casting PW:S on yourself then Shadowfiend then Hymn of Hope, preferably when you’re at 20% mana causes you to go near full mana
PW:S : only cast this when it has an actual benefit because pissy disc priests will pick on you
Desperate Prayer: Your personal oh-**** button.
Guardian Spirit: Be intelligent about using this spell. For example, don’t use this spell on a mage in an iceblock. Or on a tank who just popped icebound fortitude. Use this spell on someone who is at low hp and who needs to be healed up ASAP but you know he’s not gonna receive the heals fast enough, so by using this directly, you save him.
Runic Mana Potion: Let’s not be cheap now k. (Speaking of not being cheap, buy that Flask of the Frost Wyrm!)(PS: You can farm potions very easily in sholazar basin killing the frostwolf clan wolves at the bottom left of the map)
Fade: Deletes you from the threat table for 15 seconds. Lovely ***-saving button.
Psychic Scream: Has its uses.
Glyph of Circle of Healing: increases the effectiveness of your best spell by 20%. Can you say awesomesauce?
Glyph of Guardian Spirit: Your best cooldown now only has a 70 second cooldown, and you don’t look like an absolute moron if you cast it at the wrong time and trigger a 3 minute cooldown. I personally hate big cooldowns and I always like to “save them for when i need them” but with this glyph, the spell only has a 1 minute cooldown, so like whatever, how many life-threatening issues can happen within 1 minute, right? (other than 15 people dying from vile spirits one after the other)
Optional: (pick one)
Glyph of Prayer of Healing: My personal choice, adds an awesome HoT to your awesome spell, which helps it avoid overhealing.
Glyph of Flash Heal: If your mp5 still sucks
Glyph of Renew: It’s an option.
Glyph of Spirit of Redemption: If you know you’re so bad you’re gonna die on every encounter, although i generally dislike the spirit because druids are waiting for you to properly die so they can ress you up.
This list exhausts every decent end-game option; any item that isn’t mentioned here is a relatively big downgrade and therefore you should not seek getting it in terms of acquiring BiS.
Head: Sanctified Crimson Acolyte Hood
Chest: Sanguine Silk Robes
Hands: Sanctified Crimson Acolyte Gloves
Shoulders: Sanctified Crimson Acolyte Shoulderpads
Legs: Sanctified Crimson Acolyte Leggings
Necklace: Bone Sentinel’s Amulet
Ring 1: Ashen Band of Endless Wisdom
Ring 2: Memory of Malygos
2nd BiS: Ring of Maddening Whispers
Cloak: Greatcloak of the Turned Champion
possibly Cloak of Burning Dusk
Wrists: BiS: Bracers of Fiery Night
2nd BiS: Death Surgeon’s Sleeves
Belt: Lingering illness
2nd BiS: Crushing Coldwraith Belt/Circle of Ossus
Feet: Plague Scientist’s Boots
2nd BiS: Sandals of Consecration / normal version of Plague Scientist’s Boots
Trinket 1: Althor’s Abacus
Trinket 2: Glowing Twilight Scale
2nd BiS: Solace of the Defeated
BiS Staff: Archus, Greatstaff of Antonidas
BiS mh/oh: Weapon: Trauma
Off-hand: Sundial of Eternal Dusk
It would be hard to give a definitive answer on which weapon is BiS but I would go for trauma for more HPS or for Archus for more regen
Wand: Nightmare Ender / Corpse-Impaling Spike
Head: Arcanum of Blissful Mending / Arcanum of Burning Mysteries
Shoulders: Greater Inscription of the Crag / Greater Inscription of the Storm
Chest: Enchant Chest – Powerful Stats
Bracers: Enchant Bracers – Superior Spellpower
Gloves: Enchant Gloves – Exceptional Spellpower
Belt: Eternal Belt Buckle
Legs: Brilliant Spellthread
Boots: Enchant Boots – Tuskar’s Vitality
Staff: Enchant Staff – Greater Spellpower
Dagger/Mace: Enchant Weapon – Mighty Spellpower
“What should I gem my holy priest?”
The thing you gotta understand about holy priests is that they’re not the kind of class that bash their heads against their keyboards and therefore have one talent build and one gear build and one gem build( ie paladins), but rather it’s a unique combination of a lot of things that decide how you play with your talents, what spells you use, and what gear/gems you aim for. For example, if you’re in a high-end guild, your worries concerning mana problems are greatly diminished (due to proper organization such as assigning druids to innervate you and having rshamans in your group helping you out with mana tide totem + having complete buffs), so gemming/gearing for spirit doesn’t seem like a reasonable thing to do. Also, if you’re in a high-end guild, your need for haste is lower due to the fact that you can count on having a shaman, a moonkin druid, and retribution paladins in your raid, helping you out with their passive haste auras(/totem). Therefore you need to adjust your gear/gems according to where/how/what you’re raiding.
Basically, no there is no effective cookie cutter answer that always holds true(ie int paladins, haste shamans.)
However, that said, your general MUST-HAVE basic aims are:
1. enough haste to have your flash heal cast at exactly 1 second and
2. enough spirit(or passive intellect/mp5[solace] from gear) to prevent you from going out of mana during the fight (don’t forget you have hymn and fiend)
Beyond that, here is what you go for:
NOTE THAT as a holy priest ALL stats are helpful, therefore you should aim for getting ALL socket bonuses, these won’t go to waste.
NOTE THAT the value of each stats varies depending on your healing style(what spells you make use of and which ones you avoid)
NOTE THAT the best reference is yourself. Don’t be here posting numbers like “i have 985.67 haste points and 403.55 mp5 is this enough” because i don’t know bro, you tell me. Is your flash heal cast at 1 second? If it’s higher than that then you don’t have enough haste. Do you go oom even with fiend/hymn/runic mana potion before the fight is over? If yes then you don’t have enough mana regen(mp5/spr)
A. Spellpower: Most priests consider it a useless stats to gem for as most priests see their spells doing more over-healing than effective healing, and over-heals are beyond useless. Remember that even without gemming pure SP, you will most probably be somewhere near 4-5k spellpower fully buffed during the encounter. (I would like to personally note that specifically when you have a disc priest in the raid, you’re damn sure gonna have some over-healing on most of your spells.)
B. Haste: Priests who heal using renew spam think this stats is useless once past 50% haste(1 sec flash heal cast)(1269 haste on retail, closer to 1000 on molten). Priests who make use of Prayer of Healing(similar to the shaman chain heal) find this to be pretty much the best stats possible and some even go for full 20 haste in yellows and haste hybrids in other slots. Hell, I’ve personally healed LK 25hc once or twice with CTS and DFO(both dps haste trinkets) as my trinkets to speed up my prayer of healing casts.
C. Crit: Its use is debatable, most argue that we get all the crit we need from talents and gear. You shouldn’t gem for this unless you’re doing tests at end-game.
D. Spirit: Some go for pure spirit gemming, which somewhat makes sense in that spirit gives you both throughput ( spell power) and mana regeneration, while I’ve found other priests completely deny this stats even opting for crit/haste gear rather than spirit/haste. I personally only gem spirit hybrids in blue slots.
E. Intellect: Lovely when it comes on gear, but don’t even think about gemming for it.
F. Mp5: Avoid gear with this stats but if you’re forced with it, it’s cool, just roll with it until you can replace the mp5 for spirit. Never gem for mp5.
Meta: You’ll use Insightful Earthsiege Diamond 90% of your holy priesting life, the last 10% is when you’re near BiS, when you can opt for Revitalizing Skyflare Diamond
Lower gear: Red: Purified dreadstone(SP/Spr) or Reckless Ametrine(haste/sp)
Yellow: Quick King’s Amber(haste) or Intricate Eye of Zul(haste/spirit)
Blue: Intricate Eye of Zul(haste/spirit) or Sparkling Majestic Zircon(spr) or Purified Dreadstone(sp/spr)
Higher gear: Red: Purified/Reckless
a. You need DBM if you want to raid anything
b. An addon such as TellMeWhen helps brilliantly in keeping track of cooldowns and Surge of Light Procs
c. Healbot, aka what makes life easier for all of us.
d. While you’re downloading addons, you might as well download one such as Dominos to help you organize your action bars.
I would just like to note that even though it’s not easy being a holy priest, in return it is never dull. Being a holy priest requires you to be intelligent as you yourself need to judge what stats you need to gear/gem for, or what spell to use at whichever moment. This guide is definitely not in its final state as I’m terribly tired right now, but I will try to improve it/fix the errors( if you point them out nicely). Feedback would be greatly appreciated, concerning the content of this guide, and if there’s any section you think could be added to it to improve it, please do suggest it. Last but not least, if you have further specific questions, feel free to contact me.