Hiya! I noticed we were in need of a levelling guide so I decided to try writing one~
forHoly / Disc
http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/...iest-Cataclysm [Priest Abilities]
http://wowtal.com/#k=.a67.priest [Priest Talent Calculator]
http://media.mmo-champion.com/images.../levelflow.jpg [Level Flow Map]
Table of Contents
0. Version History
II. Why Holy/Discipline?
III. Where/How to Level
IV. Soloing Strategies
VI. Beginner's Guide to Healing in Dungeons
0. Version History
V 1.0 (10/14/2010): Made this guide ;D
V 1.2 (10/26/2010): Changed all of the Yellow-colored words to Orange, and the Orange-colored ones into Red, for easier reading. Removed the "levelling through battlegrounds" recommendations, since they nerfed the battleground experience. Added Section VI.: Beginner's Guide to Healing. Fixed "V. Conclusion" - that was a typo.
V 1.2.5 (10/28/2010): Changed all the Oranges to DARK Orange.
V 1.5 (11/27/2010): Added the Level Flow Map to the quick links, Note about Battlegrounds, and added updated levelling advice for 11-45. Added the PSA from bear Druids.
Hello there, aspiring Priests! My name is Mara, and I have been in the Priesting business for about a year now. I am certainly not an expert on all that is Priest, nor would I consider myself a noob. I picked to do this levelling guide on Holy/Disc because those are the two specs that I'm most experienced/familiar with, and the most comfortable for me. Also, I feel levelling as Shadow is pretty straightforward and easy so people shouldn't need much help with it. :] Right now, I'm writing this guide up to ~level 20-30 or so, but I will update it in the future should there be a need to!
II. Why Holy/Discipline?
So by now you're probably wondering why you would want to level as a healer.. well, there are multiple reasons.
1. It's fun! : D
2. Better healing = more survivability while levelling
3. Faster dungeon queues
4. Recent talents/spells changes make Holy/Disc more viable for levelling
5. It's more challenging
If you plan on healing at level 80/85, but you want to spec as DPS for faster levelling, that's fine too. However, it's good experience if you spec Holy/Disc at an early level and get used to it; and with the new class changes it's almost as fast as levelling as Shadow! So give it a chance! : P
III. Where/How to Level
To prevent this part of the guide from becoming super long, I'm not gonna list each individual quest; (they're changing in Cataclysm anyway...) but I can suggest a few good levelling places.
Level 1-10: You start out in your race-dependent starting area. Just follow all the quests here, Smiting everything in sight and doing as many quests as possible, and you should be out of this phase in, at most, 2 hours. Now, this is just my personal preference, but I always level in the Blood Elf starting zone, Eversong Woods, because I know it like the back of my hand (Most of my characters are blood elves :x) and it seems to go faster for me. You may find this to be the same for you, or maybe not! Try it out and see what you think. I haven't had a chance to level in any of the new Cataclysm starting zones yet so they might go faster than the BC zones now.
Levels 11-20: So now you'll want to leave your race's starting zone, and go to your race's 11-20 zone. Consult the Level Flow Map up in the Quick Links to see where you should go. If you are BLOOD ELF or DRAENI, I suggest questing in Silverpine, Northern Barrens, or Darkshore instead of Ghostlands/Bloodmyst, because the new Cataclysm levelling zones are MUCH faster than the BC ones (And way more fun). At level 15 and beyond you should also consider doing dungeons, as they give a lot of experience, and most of them now contain quests inside the dungeon for even MORE experience.
Levels 21-30: Again, consult the Level Flow Map above for where you should go. Personally, I went to Ashenvale and then Stonetalon Mountains and I breezed through this period in half a day. Arathi Basin opens up at level 20, so I recommend trying it IF it is the Call to Arms battleground. More dungeons like the Stockades, Blackfathom Deeps, and Gnomerregan also open up, and most of them contain quests, too, so queue yourself up for those if questing starts to become dull. Oh, and at level 30 you can buy Dual Talent Specialization for only 10g, so definately purchase that!
Levels 31-40: From here I moved on to the Southern Barrens and did some quests, and then did a couple dungeons, and then moved over to Dustwallow Marsh. It barely took any time at all to level this way, but if you might prefer other zones (when I'm levelling a Goblin in Cata I think I'm going to level in Desolace and Feralas next time, just to see what's going on over there). The Scarlet Monastery dungeons open up too, and if you're Horde then there are Forsaken quests for each one. Make sure you go there since there's a lot of gear to be won.
Levels 41-45: Next, I went to Thousand Needles, which is one of the coolest new zones; the Speedbarge is just awesome. Levelling seemed to slow down at this point, but it might have just been the zone I was in. Anyways, consult the Level Flow map and pick a place that interests you. There are dungeons too, and the Eye of the Storm battleground also opens up.
A NOTE ABOUT BATTLEGROUNDS: Warsong Gulch is available at level 10, Arathi Basin at level 20, and now Eye of the Storm is level 40. If you like/are good at PvP then you may consider levelling through battlegrounds. HOWEVER, I would ONLY suggest doing this whenever the battleground is the Call to Arms battleground. Otherwise, you won't get much experience. Also note that battlegrounds are separated by every 5 levels now, so you won't have to worry about twinks if you're lower in the level bracket. :]
IV. Soloing Strategies
At level 1 you start out with a single ability, Smite. You can cast this virtually forever without running out of mana, and it does pretty good damage. You'll want to just spam this ability from maximum range; it should only take 2-3 shots to kill something around your level.
At level 3 you get Flash Heal, but you really won't need this too often.
Level 5 is when you get Power Word: Shield. Use this on yourself before entering combat, as it protects you not only from damage, but from spell push-back.
Don't use Shadow Word: Pain when speeding through mobs, it should be renamed Shadow Word: Mana Vaccuum.
You may want to use Mind Blast at this early stage to open with, since it has a 40 yard range. You will probably drop it out of your rotation later (for Disc, at least).
Once you reach level 10, you may spec Holy, Shadow, or Disc.
In addition to the increased mana, you get a very important levelling skill right off the bat; Penance. After you get it, make your rotation this: Smite, Penance, Smite. Smite has an increasingly longer cast time every time you level up, so it's best to charge it up before you enter combat. Next, use Penance because you want to make sure you get all 3 pulses in before the enemy has a chance to attack you, otherwise you'll only get 2 ticks. Then, just Smite (Or Mind Blast) until it's dead.
Later on, you will acquire the Envangelism talent, which GREATLY improves your grinding/questing speed, and you'll also get Holy Fire, which will replace Mind Blast. Here's what you'll want to do: Smite, Smite, Smite, Smite, (Enemy might die here; quickly move on to next enemy and continue rotation: ) Smite....
Just keep casting Smite, and move from mob to mob to mob to mob to mob, never let the Evangelism stacks fall off. Use Penance and Holy Fire too, as they also benefit from Evangelism, but I would use 1 of them per mob, that way one is always off cooldown and available. Shield yourself if needed. If you run low on mana, simply consume the Evangelism stacks with Archangel, and if you run low on health, Renew yourself and keep on going.
Unfortunately, if you spec Holy then you can't level using the awesome might that is Evangelism. And you don't get Penance. But don't worry, you can still level as a Holy Priest; just not as fast as Disc.
The rotation is the same, only open with Holy Fire now, and then add in an instant Chastise after that: Holy Fire, Holy Word: Chastise, Smite, Smite, Smite...
Health shouldn't be much of a concern since you have a pretty potent Renew and with the Surge of Light talent proccing from Smite, you should get some nice mana-free heals.
Levels 10, 11, and 13 you'll want to immediately spec into Twin Disciplines. It's not much, but it buffs your damage so that's a plus.
Levels 15 + 17 go ahead and spec into Improved Power Word: Shield. Extra shield absorbtion is good for healing in dungeons, and your shields will last longer for levelling too.
Levels 19, 21, and 23 you need Evangelism and Archangel. :]
Levels 25 and 27 go ahead and pick up Soul Warding, just because it's useful for healing in dungeons. Of course, you could put the two points in Mental Agility if you want that instead. Inner Sanctum is not really worth it at this level.
From then on there are a lot of goodies; Attonement will help a little bit for levelling but they nerfed the healing by half when using it to solo, so... it's still a good talent though; it will help when you're trying to get Evangelism stacks in a dungeon. :]
Levels 10, 11, and 13: Get Divine Fury! It reduces the cast time of Smite and Holy Fire by .5 seconds, which is a very nice boost for levelling!
Levels 15 and 17 you can either put points in Renew or Empowered Healing.. I chose Renew since it's instant, which is more helpful when you're running from mob to mob.
Levels 19-27 are all healing talents. I suggest picking up Desperate Prayer first, since it's an instant and could be potentially more helpful while soloing than Surge of Light. The rest of the talents are great for dungeons though, so as Holy you might be more suited to healing in dungeons at this level than soloing.
VI. Beginner's Guide to Healing in Dungeons
This isn't exactly necessary, and a lot of people who are making a new character have experience with the game already; but just in case, I'm adding this to the end of the guide for anyone who doesn't know what to do, or wants to get better. Hopefully I can help you in some way. :]
First of all, I HIGHLY VERY MUCH ABSOLUTELY suggest you go to http://wow.curse.com/downloads/wow-a...continued.aspx and download the Healbot add-on if you haven't already. If you don't like Healbot or it's too confusing, you can look into some other add-ons like Vuhdu or Grid. Basically, Healbot will make your life easier, whether you're soloing, in a battleground, or in a dungeon. All it is, is a separate health bar for you, and health bars for the other people in your party. And you can simply click it to heal. Very easy. I highly suggest you get an add-on like it before you start healing since it will make the job easier. If you need any help setting it up in-game then send me a message!
Now that that's out of the way. Basically, at lower levels you'll be casting Heal on the tank whenever he takes damage. He should be the only one taking damage, but if not, then throw a Heal out to the other party members, if you have time. If there is more incoming damage than you can restore with Heal, then you may also use Renew or Power Word: Shield.
Finally, if there is a LOT of incoming damage, then you want to use Flash Heal. It's VERY effective but costs a lot of mana, so save it as an emergency heal. You should have all of your heals mapped out on Healbot (or another add-on if you prefer) and it will be very easy. Later you will obtain Prayer of Healing, which should be used when at least 4 party members have all taken damage.
The tank usually isn't always taking a ton of damage however, so feel free to employ the soloing strategies from earlier in the guide to help get the dungeon done faster.
Don't forget to buff! :] Use Power Word: Fortitude at the start of every dungeon!
And now, a PSA (Public Service Announcement from Harky:
Please, please, please, please, please do not shield Bear tanks on large pulls. The extra damage your tank might take will be completely off-set by your tank losing all control of the mobs. This is the difference between your Bear buddy putting out 500 DPS at level 20 and putting out 80 while trying to pick up random mobs non-stop. Until level 36 -minimum- shields on Bears are a horrible idea.
To clarify: Absorbs prevent Thorns procs. Blizz decided to not give Bears Swipe until 36 and thought Thorns would suffice. It does! However, it's totally nullified by shields.
Power Word: Shield is more potent if you have the talent for it, so feel free to use it on the tank instead of Heal. Be ready to use Heal again if the shield breaks early. Penance is a very efficient healing spell so use it often.
When you get to around level 30, you can pick up the Attonement talent, which is useful because you can help DPS enemies down with Smite, and be healing at the same time. Plus, it's very easy to get 5 stacks of Evangelism this way, and have Archangel ready if you run low on mana or you need to produce more healing. So, I recommend taking the Attonement talent!
There isn't much variation in the Holy-specific healing strategies, except that Renew will be more effective than shielding party members. Although Holy Word: Chastise can't be used for healing at the low levels, a 3 second stun could be used to mitigate tank damage so I suggest using it when you're taking on a group of enemies.
Holy and Discipline are two very great specs to have when you're in the level 10-30 range because not only will you have shorter dungeon queue times, but you will also be able to solo quest/grind effectively. If you like healing, and you plan on being a healer at a later level, then I suggest speccing into it now so you get more experience with healing as a priest, instead of speccing Shadow just to level. You can be the key to victory in the early level Warsong Gulch matches because there aren't many healers at that level. This took me about an hour and a half to write, and I plan to update it with more information. Let me know if you see any grammatical errors, or any incorrect info, or just suggestions in general! Have fun levelling your holy or discipline Priest! : D