(PvE)Holy Priest for Beginners
Table of Content
6. How to heal
7. What to do when things go wrong?
9. To-do list
Every day I see threads popping up with questions about Holy priest healing. In order to reduce the number of threads asking pretty much the same I have tried in making a guide for beginning Holy priests. Everything in this guide is based on personal observation and things I have picked up on the internet, mostly on this forum. I do not claim to have exhaustive knowledge of the Holy priest spec, but I am confident that I can teach others. Please do not follow this guide blindly. Don’t be afraid to try things out for yourself. Be aware that while I have tried to avoid it as much as possible there could be indications of personal preference.
In this guide I will attempt to provide you with enough information to get you started as a Holy priest. Whether you’re a new priest doing Deadmines/Ragefire Chasm for the first time, healing while leveling up to 85 or wanting to get ready for heroics, I will try to give you everything you need.
Priest have a relatively large amount of spells. By choosing to be a Holy priest you gain even more spells. Knowing what your spells do and when to use them is key to the survival of your group.
Heal: This is your most basic heal. It is slow, heals for very little, but is amazingly mana-efficient. Use this when damage is low and steady, or to top of people.
Flash Heal: This your fast heal. It heals for more than Heal and goes a lot faster as well but it cost a lot more mana. At lower levels you can use this spell liberally, but above level 80 it is best saved for emergency situations.
Greater Heal: Slow, but heals for a lot. Used mainly on people who have taken a lot of damage, but aren’t in need of being saved quickly.
Binding Heal: Heals both you and your target. This spell is as fast as Flash Heal, but cheaper to cast. It also saves you time, since you only need to cast one heal in order to heal two people.
Prayer of Healing: Heals the entire party of the target. This might seem to cost a lot of mana, but when three or more people are in need of a Heal it is more efficient than healing them individually.
Renew: Your only heal-over-time spell. At the moment of writing it isn’t the most mana-efficient heal (12.5% Haste improves this), but it provides steady healing on the tank and is also useful to heal up others when you don’t have enough time to actually cast something.
Prayer of Mending: Puts a buff on the target, providing healing when the target takes damage, then jumps to another player. The spell is more or less smart in that it seems to (mostly) jumps to people who have recently taken damage, but for some reason it favors the priest that casts it.
Circle of Healing: Heals up to 5 (6 if glyphed) players within 30 yards of the target. It heals the people who have taken the most damage within its range. It doesn’t heal for that much but has the advantage of being instant. This spell is great for following up a Prayer of Healing.
Holy Nova: Deals damage to all enemies within its range and also heals up to 5 friendly targets within the blast. Doesn’t heal for very much, causes no threat and can be cast while moving, which is pretty much the only reason to use it.
Divine Hymn: A channeled spell that heals the three people who are most damaged and also increases healing done on those people each tick. While it isn’t the gamebreaker that it used to be, but it can still make a bad situation a lot better.
Hymn of Hope: Channeled spell that restores mana to the 3 people with the lowest mana and increases their total mana by 15%. The mana restore isn’t that good, but the increased mana also increases the mana gains of everything else that scales with total mana such as Replenishment and Shadowfiend.
Leap of Faith: Pulls the target to your location. Useful for people who are standing in bad things, or help people position.
Chakra: After activating Chakra the next Heal, Greater Heal, Flash Heal or Binding Heal you cast puts you in Chakra: Serenity State increasing the critical chance of your direct heals by 10% and your direct heals refresh the Renew HoT. If you follow up Chakra with Prayer of Mending or Prayer of healing you enter Chakra: Sanctuary increasing your AoE heals and Renew with 15% and reduces the cooldown of Circle of Healing by 2 seconds. If you cast Smite after activating Chakra your damage spells deal 15% extra damage.
Holy Word: Chastise/Serenity/Sanctuary: Holy Word: Chastise is the spell you get when choosing the Holy spec. It deals damage and disorients the target for 3 seconds. On picking the Revelations talent Holy Word: Chastise changes when entering Chakra: Serenity or Chakra: Sanctuary. In Chakra: Serenity it becomes Holy Word: Serenity. This heals the target for a good amount, costs little mana and increases the critical strike chance of your healing spells on the target by 25% for 6 seconds. In Chakra: Sanctuary it becomes Holy Word: Sanctuary. Holy Word: Sanctuary puts a glowy effect on the ground that heals the people in it for 18 seconds. This costs a lot of mana and heals for little, but is steady healing that happens while you can do other things.
Lightwell: Places a Lightwell on the ground that has 10 charges (15 glyphed). Players can click on the Lighwell to gain a buff that heals them over time. A Lightwell is extremely mana-efficient but has the downside that it requires other players to use it correctly. While awareness is growing it’s still a good idea to remind your group to use it. Worst case scenario is that only you use it, and even then it’s useful.
Desperate Prayer: Instantly heals you for a good amount of health.
Guardian Spirit: Places a buff on the target increasing healing done to that target by 40%. If the target dies while the buff is active he comes back with 50% of their health. This spell is immensely powerful, but can bug out, letting the target die.
Power Word: Shield: Places a shield on the target. As a Holy priest it’s fairly weak, but combined with the Body and Soul talent it provides great utility.
Fade: Removes all threat for 10 seconds, but you regain all this threat when the buff ends. When one or more mobs are hitting you it’s a good idea to push fade.
Shadowfiend: Gives you a pet for 15 seconds. Each time it hits an enemy you gain 3% of your maximum mana.
These are the talents you absolutely must have. I sincerely recommend you take them. I won’t discuss most of them in length, since they’re fairly obvious.
Divine Fury: Reduces the cast time of your most used heal (Heal) and Greater Heal. Since their cast time is extremely long, great talent.
Empowered Healing: Extra throughput for all single target heals.
Improved Renew: Increases the healing done by Renew. Renew is used enough, even if only on the tank, to take this talent.
Holy Concentration: Increases your in-combat regen. Mana matters a lot and this talent is a prerequisite for Chakra.
Lightwell: See the spell description above. Despite it flaws Lightwell is a very attractive talent in Cataclysm.
Tome of Light: Reduces the cooldown of your Holy Word spells. Since Holy Word: Serenity is an amazing spell being able to cast it more is a good thing.
Serendipity: Casting Flash Heal or Binding Heal lowers the cast time of Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing. This talent can save lives because you can put an immense amount of healing in a short period with it (Flash Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal) and gives a bonus to casting a slightly undesirable spell.
Body and Soul: Gives the target of your Power Word: Shield or Leap of Faith a small speed increase. The ability to cleanse poison from yourself is nice as well. Body and Soul might seem slightly underwhelming at first but it’s a really flexible and useful talent. Helping someone into positioning, running out of stuff faster, getting away from a loose add. You have to experience it, really, but trust me, this is one of the best and most fun talents in the tree.
Chakra: Mostly explained in the spell section above. Chakra makes you better at either Area of Effect healing or Single Target Healing. Another way to look at it is throughput state (Sanctuary) or mana conservation mode (Serenity)
Revelations: Changes Holy Word: Chastice into Holy Word: Sanctuary or Holy Word: Serenity. Since Serenity is a really nice spell and Sanctuary has its uses it would be silly not to take this talent.
Circle of Healing: Another useful talented spell, that fills its role perfectly.
Test of Faith: This talent increases healing on people who will most certainly need it. While it’s arguable that you don’t need to max it out even one or two points in it can make a difference.
Guardian Spirit: An actual lifesaver (see also the spell description above). This spell can save person in your group from unavoidable dead, the most powerful effect in your arsenal.
Twin Disciplines: Straight up increase of all your healing spells. There’s absolutely no reason not to take this talent.
Other useful talents
These would be the talents that you use to fill out the points you haven’t spend on the mandatory talents. These talents should be taken to match your individual playstyle and preference.
Inspiration: This talent could also on the mandatory list. I would highly recommend taking this talent, since it’s able to prevent a fair amount of damage, even though it’s unpredictable.
Surge of Light: Gives you a (rather small) chance of getting a free Flash Heal, when you cast Heal, Flash Heal or Greater Heal. In normals and heroics this talent can be worth it, since you’re casting those spells quite often. The Flash Heal you get from the proc can also proc another Flash Heal which is quite fun, if it happens.
Desperate Prayer: Heals yourself for a good amount. It’s a nice survivability talent, that can save you from death and saves you from casting the more expensive Binding Heal.
Divine Touch: Adds an upfront heal to your Renew. If you find yourself casting Renew to heal DPS who’ve taken a bit of damage instead of Heal, this could be a very good talent for you.
Spirit of Redemption: When you die you become an angel, able to heal for another 15 seconds. While opinions are divided on this talent, most priests probably have a story about how this talent saved an encounter.
Blessed Resilience: When you get hit for 10% of health all incoming healing is increased. You’ll get hit by unavoidable (and avoidable) quite a lot in dungeons, so extra healing after that is always nice.
Mental Agility Reduces the mana cost of your instant abilities. It’s a nice little talent that can make you go out of mana less often.
Inner Sanctum Reduces magical damage taken while Inner Fire is active and makes you run faster while Inner Will is active. Most damage you, as a healer, take is magical damage and running faster is always useful.
Darkness: Increases Haste which makes your spells go faster and your Renew tick faster. Pretty nice talent.
Glyphs are another way to improve and personalize your character. Once again, do not just blindly take over the recommended glyphs, think about which glyph suits you best.
Prime Glyphs improve spell you already have and will always give you more throughput.
Flash Heal: Not the best glyph to use, since you don’t really want to be casting Flash Heal, and you also don’t want people to get this low.
Guardian Spirit: Reduces the cooldown of Guardian Spirit. Not a very bad glyph, but you’ll want to avoid having to use Guardian Spirit twice in a fight, so this could be a wasted glyph.
Lightwell: Increases the number of charges on your Lightwell. The usefulness of this glyph really depends on how much your group uses the Lightwell, but if they do it regularly it’s a good glyph.
Power Word: Shield: While this glyph isn’t used that often at maximum level it has its uses at lower levels, when you don’t have that much spells available to you.
Prayer of Healing: Adds a HoT to your Prayer of Healing. This is a very good glyph. Prayer of Healing is already a good spell and adding more healing to it is just awesome.
Renew: Straight up increases the healing done by Renew. Since Renew is running on the tank anyway, might as well increase its healing.
Recommended Prime Glyphs: Glyph of Lightwell, Glyph of Prayer of Healing
Most major glyphs provide no pure throughput gain, but change or add small things to spells.
Circle of Healing: Not the most useful glyph in five man dungeons, since it will end up healing pets most of the time.
Dispel Magic: Heals the target of your Dispel Magic for a small amount. You’ll have to dispel from time to time and adding an extra healing component can be nice.
Fade: The utility of this talent depends on the quality of your tank. If your tank never loses agro this is a wasted glyph, but if your tank is still learning and losing agro rather often it can be worth it.
Holy Nova: This glyph gives you the capability of spamming your Holy Nova, which isn’t something you’ll want to do often. You most likely don’t use Holy Nova at all in a dungeon.
Mass Dispel: A faster Mass Dispel isn’t that useful, since a lot of people with a magical debuff on them is not something that occurs often in normal or heroic dungeons.
Prayer of Mending: This is the only major glyph that simply improves throughput. Barring extremely low spirit situations you’ll want Prayer of Mending on the tank, so this glyph will help you keep the tank alive.
Psychic Scream: This glyph’s use is situational, but can help you a lot when things are starting to go wrong. Using a unglyphed Psychic Scream will normally result in even more mobs joining the fight, but when glyphed it gives you a moment with lower damage and gives other players time to reapply some crowd control.
Scourge Imprisonment: As a healer you will not be ask to crowd control often, due to your lack of hit.
Recommended Major Glyphs: Glyph of Prayer of Mending
Minor glyphs provide mainly utility or small fixes to spells. Minor glyphs don’t impact gameplay that much.
Fading: Again, the usefulness of this glyph depends a lot on the tank you have with you. If you have to press Fade often the tank is probably inexperienced or at a lower gear level, and less mana spend on Fade is more mana left for actual healing.
Fortitude: Less mana to spend on Fortitude is a small, but nice bonus. It helps you get ready faster at the start of a dungeon and makes it easier to buff people in combat (like after a combat ress).
Levitate: Not having to spend materials on Levitate is very nice, considering the usefulness of the spell, even thought the use of Levitate is largely outside of dungeons.
Shackle Undead: See my comments on the glyph of Scourge Imprisonment.
Shadow Protection: An increased duration of Shadow Protection is mainly convenience, since buffing isn’t that hard.
Shadowfiend: In PvE content, your shadowfiend shouldn’t die, since pets take reduced AoE damage.
Recommended Minor Glyphs: Glyph of Levitate
In this bit I’ll talk about the various stats that influence your healing spells. The main stat you’ll have to look out for are: Intellect, Spirit, Haste, Mastery and Critical Strike. This segment, like the others, will not have detailed numbers and calculations, but a basic overview.
Intellect: This is the main stats for all casters, including Healers. It increases your spell power, which makes your heals go for more. It increases your mana pool, giving you more total mana which gives you more mana back from effects that use a percentage of your total mana (like Replenishment and your Shadowfiend). Intellect also increases your critical strike chance. Intellect does almost everything you need, so it is pretty safe to say that Intellect is your main stat.
Spirit: Spirit increases your mana regeneration. By choosing the Holy specialization you get 50% of your mana regeneration in combat and Holy Concentration adds another 30% in combat regen. Spirit is your main mana regeneration stat and if you go out of mana often you most likely need more Spirit.
Haste: Haste reduces your cast times, makes your HoTs tick faster, can give your HoTs an extra tick (at 12.5% Haste) and lowers your Global Cooldown. Haste pretty much makes you heal faster.
Mastery: Mastery does something different for each spec. For Holy Priests Mastery gives all of your direct heals an additional HoT, called Echoes of Light.
Critical Strike: Critical Strike gives you a chance for your heals to do 150% healing. More critical strike gives you more chance that this will happen.
Which stats to use?
All of your gear will have intellect on it, so you shouldn’t go out of your way in order to get this. You’ll also want Spirit on pretty much every piece of gear, so the only choice to make is Critical Strike, Haste or Mastery. Critical Strike isn’t really a valuable stat for Healers, since it is very unreliable and you get enough crit out of Intellect and being in Chakra: Serenity. Which leaves only one question.
Haste or Mastery?
This, I can’t really help you with. It’s personal preference and is up to each individual player and playstyle. Some Holy Priests choose to stack Haste or Mastery, others prefer to balance both stats.
For Holy Priests it is advisable to go for the socket bonuses, since you’ll want a solid balance of your favorite stats, and no stat Is actually bad. You will still want to maximize your Intellect when doing this.
Meta-Gem:Ember Shadowspirit Diam
Red Sockets:Brilliant Inferno Ruby( Intellect)
Blue Sockets: Purified Demonseye (Spirit and Intellect)
Yellow Sockets: Reckless Ember Topaz (Intellect and Haste) or Artful Ember Topaz(Intellect and Mastery)
6. How to heal (in normal or heroics)
In this part I’ll try to explain the basics of healing in dungeons. It’s important to note that you should try this information out in the field, and adapt it to your needs. Not everything here works for everyone and you are not forced to do it exactly like this.
Starting the fight
Before the fight starts you’ll want to have Prayer of Mending on the tank, unless you are experiencing extreme mana managing difficulties. Activate Chakra while the tank is pulling and cast Heal. This will put you in the appropriate Chakra state. Follow up the Heal with a Renew. This will be the only Renew you’ll have to cast on the tank, since all your direct heals will refresh it.
If it’s a boss fight, set down a Lightwell at a good location (in visible range to as much people as possible) and remind your group to use it.
Healing the tank
Most of your healing should go to the tank. If you have nothing better to do, cast Heal on the tank. If the tank takes more damage, either bring him back up with Holy Word: Serenity or a Greater Heal. You should avoid letting the tank drop to the point that you need Flash Heals, since that will drain your mana.
Healing yourself and DPS
Most of the time you and the dps will not take damage all the time. You do not need to top off non-tanks immediately. Give them a Heal if you have the time or throw a Renew on them if you do not have the time. If people have taken so much damage that you would need to Heal 3 or more people, a Prayer of Healing is advisable. If your Prayer of Healing hasn’t stabilized the group, finish it off with a Circle of Healing. Not that everyone is stabilized you can go back to your normal healing routine. If both you and someone else has taken a large hit, Binding Heal can be an excellent heal to use.
7. What to do when things go wrong?
Even if you and your group do their very best to avoid it, things will go wrong. This is particularly hard on the healer, since you’re expected to keep everyone alive, even in the hardest circumstances. I’ll try to give you a small list that should help you get through these hard spots.
1. Don’t panic.
When things start to go wrong you’ll want to do a lot of things at the same time. (Heal the tank, Psychic Scream to lower incoming damage, shackle an undead mob, AoE heal, position yourself differently…) This amount of decisions to make can result in taking no decisions at all, and this will result in a wipe. Prioritize: focus on keeping you and the tank alive. If the tank dies it’s probably and instant wipe, if you die it’s just a long wipe. If you can spare the time heal up some of the dps, quickly give them a Renew, then return to your more important duties.
2.Ignore mana for a while
While most of the time you need to watch your mana closely and refrain from using Flash Heal, when things are going bad just throw out whatever heal is needed. If the tank is at a critical level two Flash Heals followed by a Greater Heal will improve things quickly.
3. Use your cooldowns
As a Holy Priest you have a couple of powerful cooldowns. A Guardian Spirit on the tank gives you time to do other things or can let you use more efficient heals to bring him back up. When there’s so much damage going around and you don’t know what to do anymore just push Divine Hymn, this will turn the tide, most of the time. It's better to pop a cooldown too soon then not casting it at all while thinking: "I can use it later."
8. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: Am I ready for heroics?
A: It’s hard to tell over the internet, without more information, really, but in my opinion the best indicator of readiness for heroics is doing normals. Are you finding those difficult? If you aren’t, you most likely are ready for heroics. Another to look out for is the required item level, try to get as much pieces with Spirit of Blue (rare) gear.
Q: I’m a Discipline Priest, but I’d like to try Holy, should I switch my gear?
A: Most likely not. It is my understanding that Discipline and Holy favor similar stats, with Discipline wanting more Mastery and Crit. If you reforge the crit to a more useful stat, you should be good to go.
Q: This Priest from a high-end guild uses this or that spec, why don’t you say anything about that?
A: This guide is mainly concerned with players who, frankly, do not have the skill, or play with the people that do not have the skill that high-end players have. They spec and gear around specific encounters and play well enough that they can get away with taking a less useful spec.
Q: You have made a mistake/typo/false information in your guide.
A: Very possible. If you could please tell me what is wrong and why, I’ll shall do my best to correct it.
9. To-do list
Normally I wouldn’t post a guide if it wasn’t completely done. But what I’ve written so far should give anyone a decent overview of how to play a Holy Priest. All the vital information is present and everything I would like to add isn’t strictly necessary to know.
1. Add a tips and tricks section
2. Add a introductory raiding section
3. Update FAQ
4. Fix any mistakes I’m sure I have made
5. Add more URL’s when I mention spells
6. Add a section about UI choices
7. Maybe add an enchant section
---------- Post added 2011-02-21 at 01:13 PM ----------
I realize this guide cannot be 100% correct. I've did my very best to be as clear and correct as possible. If you notice a mistake or there is something vital or important I have missed please post it here, so I can adapt the guide.
Thanks for reading the guide, and I hope I helped some people with it.
Mod Note - For further reading: http://www.mmo-champion.com/threads/...ng-Guide-(4.2)