Ah, Holy Priests. The priestliess of priests. The WoW priest that feels like a priest. OK, I’m going to stop that now before a Disc player removes my face – but nonetheless, Holy priests are awesome. And if you want to know how to spec or what talents to pick as you head into Dragon Soul to play “count the tentacle” with Deathwing, here’s our Patch 4.3 Quick Start guide to what glyphs and gems you should use, how to reforge, stat weights, enchantments, and how to use your spells – read on.
Updated 29th Nov 2011 for Patch 4.3
Holy Priest changes in Patch 4.3
The new patch has a couple of very significant changes for Holy Priests. Firstly, they’ve redesigned Spirit of Redemption to – no, just kidding. But seriously, folks.
The biggest change is a major buff to Divine Hymn. The State of Mind talent has been removed, and replaced by “Heavenly Voice”, which boosts Divine Hymn’s healing and reduces its CD. That’s going to mean you’ll need to move some talent points into what becomes a must-have talent now, particularly given Divine Hymn also now affects 5 targets.
The other play-affecting change, aside from a couple of minor buffs to Guardian Spirit and Holy Word: Serenity, is that Glyph of Circle of Healing now also increases the mana cost of Circle of Healing by 20%. It’ll likely only be useful in 25-man content now.
Spell usage / Rotation
Healers don’t have a fixed rotation as such – apart from anything else, you’re only healing when someone takes damage! However, it is important to know how to use your spells.
First thing: Chakras. The Chakra state is one of the Holy Priest’s signature abilities, and can look pretty complicated – however, it’s actually very simple.
Holy Priests can work in one of 3 “states” – either single-target healing, AOE healing, or DPS.
To go into a chakra state, you first cast the Chakra spell, which “signals” that you want to change state. Then, you cast either a single-target heal, AOE heal, or damage spell to go into the appropriate state.
Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, and Binding Heal put you in Serenity, the single-target mode. Prayer of Healing and Prayer of Mending put you in Sanctuary, the AOE healing state. (Smite and Mind Spike put you in Chastise, the DPS state).
These state changes can’t occur more than once every 30 seconds – however, whilst you’re in each state, you’ll get a bonus to that type of healing, and your Holy Word spell alters to become a spell of that type – single-target, AOE or DPS.
If you’re only healing one target most of the time, you’ll be in the Serenity chakra, putting up Renew to tick away merrily, then using Heal almost continuously to keep your target topped off without much mana cost.
If the target takes a lot of damage, you’ll use either Greater Heal, if you have time, Flash Heal, if it’s an emergency (but watch your mana pool!), or your Holy Word if it’s off cooldown.
If the group suddenly takes damage, pop Circle of Healing (your cooldown AOE heal) and use Prayer of Mending (which will heal your primary target when they next take damage) to pick up the single-target slack.
First up, train your group to CLICK ON THE DAMN LIGHTWELL. *Lightwell *is the single most mana-efficient heal in the Holy Priest’s arsenal and delivers a powerful heal. You may want to use a macro or the RSA addon to announce when it goes down.
You’ll want to be in Chakra: Sanctuary when group healing, and put a Lightwell down somewhere accessible for the group. Your primary group heal is* Prayer of Healing* – use it liberally. Use Circle of Healing any time it’s off cooldown and is needed, in preference to Prayer of Healing. If the group’s taking damage irregularly, also use Prayer of Mending. Remember to use single-target heals too!
Don’t use Holy Word: Sanctuary unless you’re sure you need it – it’s very expensive. The best time to use it is 2-3 seconds before you know the group is about to take heavy damage – for example, from Electrocute on Nefarian.
Finally, if you need to move with the group and they need healing, use Holy Nova. If you just need to stabilise someone, Renew is also useful.
Divine Hymn is a powerful AOE heal on a short (3 min) cooldown – use it on very heavy damage phases. For mana regen, use Shadowfiend and Hymn of Hope – ideally, these should be used at the same time. Guardian Spirit is a powerful spell to save a single person – particularly if they’re about to take a damage spike you can’t heal. Oh, and remember Leap Of Faith, aka Life Grip, for those times when someone stands in what they shouldn’t have stood in!
Holy Talent Spec
The standard Holy talent spec looks a lot like this, and that spec will serve you well in raids or dungeons.
It leaves you with 2 points to spend where you will – a few good choices are:
- Veiled Shadows at the top of the Shadow tree is a nice utility talent. It reduces your Fade cooldown – nice – but the key element is a reduction in your Shadowfiend cooldown, meaning more mana regen. Particularly useful early on with less mana available.
- Darkness, also at the top of the Shadow tree, grants up to 3% Haste. Haste is probably the most valuable secondary stat for a Holy priest unless mana is a problem – once you aren’t running out of mana, highly recommended.
- Rapid Renewal, in the third tier of the Holy tree, should be taken if you find yourself using HoTs a lot – another close-to-mandatory talent.
- Surge of Light, in the second tier of Holy, is a good talent if you’re having mana problems.
- Desperate Prayer is a great “Oh, S—t!” button, particularly if you tend to find yourself standing in the Bad a lot.
If in doubt, Darkness and Rapid Renewal are good choices. If you find you’re having mana problems, swap to Veiled Shadows and Surge of Light.
Stats, Reforging and Gems
Unlike DPS classes, there is no set best way to gear and reforge – instead, there are a few options, depending on what you most feel you need as a healer.
You care most about two stats: Intellect, which boosts your overall healing power, and Spirit, which controls your mana pool and mana regeneration. You should gem and enchant for these two stats.
Beyond this, you want enough Haste to get 12.5% haste, as shown on your character sheet, and Mastery is your next most useful stat, above Crit, which is close to useless for Holy priests.
Reforging: reforge everything to Spirit until you no longer worry about running out of mana in dungeons. Then, reforge to Haste until you have 12.5%, and after that, reforge to either Mastery for better mana efficiency through a lingering Heal Over Time or Haste to speed up your spells, as you prefer.
Holy Priest enchants
Several professions have “superior” enchants – use them if the stats are appropriate. Felfire Inscription on shoulders from Inscription, for example.
|Head||Arcanum of Hyjal|
|Shoulders||Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone|
|Back||Enchant Cloak – Greater Intellect|
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats|
|Wrist||Enchant Bracer – Mighty Intellect|
|Hands||Enchant Gloves – Greater Mastery or Enchant Gloves – Haste – either / or|
|Belt||Ebonsteel Belt Buckle|
|Legs||Powerful Ghostly Spellthread|
|Feet||Enchant Boots – Lavawalker (the run speed is very useful)|
|Weapon||Enchant Weapon – Heartsong or Enchant Weapon – Power Torrent – see below|
|Off-Hand Weapon||Enchant Weapon – Superior Intellect|
Enchant Weapon – Power Torrent will tend to be superior for a mainhand enchant once you have mostly iLevel 378 gear and beyond. Below that Heartsong is probably better. See this post for more math on that.
- Prime Glyphs: Glyph of Renew and Glyph of Prayer of Healing. For the third glyph, choose Glyph of Lightwell if you play with people who remember to click on it, or Glyph of Guardian Spirit otherwise.
- Major Glyphs: Prayer of Mending and two others. Circle of Healing is potentially useful in 25-man, particularly if you don’t suffer mana problems. Dispel Magic is useful on Dispel-heavy fights. There’s no other must-have third Major glyph – use whatever you like. It won’t matter too much!
- Minor Glyphs: Glyph of Shadowfiend, Glyph of Levitate, and Glyph of Fading are good choices.
Sadly none of these guides are updated to Patch 4.3 yet.
- Plusheal’s Holy Priest guide – very thorough, and the entire Plusheal community is also great.
- Elitist Jerks Holy Priest Compendium – I actually rate the Plusheal guide higher – but if you want hardcore theorycrafting, EJ are the best at what they do.
- How 2 Priest 4.2 guide – another excellent source with good reasoning on stats in particular.
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