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  1. #1

    What would you describe as the "Class fantasy" of playing a Priest?

    I've honestly been enjoying the process of Leveling a lot recently, enough so I've decided to actually level all of my classes up to 50. In a lot of cases, I've been remaking them, as I try to pair the Class with the Race that "fits" the best.

    Priest is one of the few examples that truly eludes me, though, as I feel like I don't quite "get" what constitutes a "Priest".

    I understand they use a mix of Holy spells, and Shadow (Void?) magic. But that seems like a pretty broad, generic overview, and I'd appreciate more insight offered by those who've truly played and enjoyed Priests.

    And for reference, part of what I'm hoping to answer is "which Race best encapsulates the entirety of the Priest class".

    Generally speaking, I always viewed the Priest as sort of a "more fantastical take on a Catholic priest". And in some ways, I feel that holds up pretty well; a lot of their sets seem to have a lot of religious imagery and inspirations, and the "conflict between Good (Holy) and Evil (Shadow/Void)" seems a pretty good analog.

    But then I wonder if that's just one interpretation of it?

    Now obviously, Warcraft is full of all different kinds of "priests". But I'd probably draw a distinction between "priest" as a title, and the actual "Priest" class (much the way all races have "warriors", but the Warrior CLASS is really more of a "Barbarian").

    But... well, what would you describe as the "class fantasy" of playing a Priest?

  2. #2
    Doesn't really make sense to look at class fantasy rather than spec fantasy. E.g. shadow has very little to do with holy now. Just like marksmanship hunters are about being master snipers, which has very little to do with survival hunters, right?
    So, for shadow, the fantasy is someone who screws with your mind, and then dabbles into the void powers (again, heavily linked to the whole mind fuckery, see Old Gods) at the cost of their own sanity as well. And then there's devouring plague which doesn't connect with any of this in any way, and should be renamed to devouring despair or something like that to make sense.
    For holy, I'd say the fantasy is pretty obvious, I'd say.
    For discipline, it's about balancing the holy and the shadow, helping allies while hurting the enemies. The pragmatic way where they see that both light and shadow are useful, and anyway they are two sides of the same coin.

  3. #3
    The Insane draynay's Avatar
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    "This calls for some Divine Intervention!"

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  4. #4
    From my understandings in Dungeons and Dragons Priests and Clerics are very similar (if you know what a cleric is but is indecide on what a priest is)

    However, Clerics are exclusive to "The Holy Church" (whatever it means in what world you're building) while Priests can be from any church but use the same type of "Religious Magic", you use the term "Priest" in your campaign when you want it to have several races and religions, and you use the word cleric when the church is usually a single entity.

    There is an entire tree of magic around Holy and Shadow magic and theyre both "religious magic", you can study them but in lame terms a Priest/cleric is a Wizard that can use either or both of these magic schools
    Last edited by Nuba; 2020-11-25 at 02:50 AM.

  5. #5
    Priests in Classic WoW were described as the spiritual leaders of a culture. They were the centers and cornerstones of religion in the societies they were apart of. In large part the fantasy of a Priest back then was to resemble whatever kind of faith any culture had - and if the culture had any kind of religion at all, it would have Priests. Priests didn't always have to be direct Light worshipers, as we saw with Night Elves with their Elune worship, or even on the Horde side with Trolls and their worship of Loa, or the Forsaken with their Cult of Forgotten Shadow moving between Light and Void depending on whichever force wasn't strong at a given moment. Each race had their own kind of flavor and distinctive faiths, and especially early on this was reflected the most in the Priest class with the various racial abilities prescribed to Priests specifically. They all reflected a lot of these racial faiths in their own way.

    I think the fantasy of a Priest is very tied in to the racial fantasy as well. It can be very hard to say what the general fantasy of a Priest should be, because saying it's dependent on the context of a race's culture in WoW is important, I think. Even among new races, like Kul Tiran, or Mag'har, they all have their own beliefs like worshiping the Tides or worshiping the Stars like the Shadowmoon clan -- so even now we still see Priests obey this idea that each race has their own faiths when it comes to Priests.

    All Priests are depicted in WoW with holy yellow/white or dark shadowed purple void energies for gameplay -- as creating independent spell visuals for each race would probably be laborious. Maybe one day we could see the fantasy fully realized, but for now the depiction of the racial Priest fantasy isn't as well established as it could (and arguably should) be.

    I think boiling down all the races down just one avenue of worship and ignoring the racial flavors would be entirely too homogenous to the setting and takes away a lot of the interesting flavors and unique traits and aspects of the various races and their culture. I think it's important that at least in lore and story and npcs we see all these different flavors of Priest -- they're interesting, compelling, entertaining, and add further context and texture to the various conflicts we see the races all participate in. Without differing ideologies and faiths we wouldn't have these cultures clash as much.

    If all fell under the Light, or Elune, or whatever, there would be a lot less strife and conflict as there would be more ground for these cultures to understand and relate to one another. We see The Light on places like Draenor taking over and kind of forcibly converting everything as being seen as a kind of threat -- and I think, in a way, that's pretty accurate to the setting, as if everyone did fall under this kind of banner it would remove a lot of the conflict from the setting and the story as well. If everyone got along, had the same religion, there wouldn't be as much war for us to play.

    For the purposes of Warcraft being a game, I think religion plays a very key and important part of keeping the races at odds and conflict with one another and giving them all different ideals and values to clash.
    Last edited by Razion; 2021-07-05 at 09:06 AM.

  6. #6
    To me, if we're talking about Azeroth and the WoW universe, Priest's fantasy is that of a coin. Both sides are extremes, on one side we have holy. An extremely devout person, with unstoppable faith in the light and their beliefs. They see themselves as meaning well in any scenario even if in reality, their actions can be harmful / Detrimental to others (Scarlet crusade.) Healing allies and smiting (In their eyes) those who are wicked and evil. Their magic manifests in the physical plane, mending bodily wounds and damage.

    On the other side, we have Shadow. As devout and faithful as holy, but in the complete opposite spectrum. They relish in pain, suffering and torment. They would never have others health and well being in mind. The only thing that matters, is their own, twisted visage, their well being, and their insatiable lust for causing pain, especially when it comes to the mind and mentallity of others, unlike holy, who deals with the physical body.

    Then we have Discipline. This is where the coin lands neither heads, nor teails, but standing up on its side. Discipline has switched out their unhealthily devout belief in the light, and the sadistic, maddening powers of shadow, to instead fall in between the two in them middle. Always teetering on the edge between the two, they require absolute discipline, to not succumb to the madness of shadow, nor give into the zealotry of the light.

  7. #7
    I fck for god. Who do you fck for, exile?

    Anyway, for me, the priest class is basically a good guy with motto "the end justified the means". Considering the modern bad guys meta, this probably makes him/her a villain, lol.

  8. #8
    Brewmaster Malania's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by draynay View Post
    "I kick ass for The Lord!"
    Shame he got eaten =P

  9. #9
    Merely a Setback Queen of Hamsters's Avatar
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    To me, Discipline sums up the class fantasy I have for Priests.

    But sadly it's such a pain for questing that I have to play as shadow.
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  10. #10
    Discipline Priests: Robed crusaders who inflict their austere edicts upon those who would stand against the light. Battle-hardened, driven, and unforgiving.
    Shadow Priests: Worshipers of dark powers who wield them to further their malevolent plans. Prideful and greedy, they thirst for more power.
    Holy Priests: Pure-hearted, kind, and wise, these clerics stand for the light and live a life free of sin. They cast little judgement and serve to protect the light.
    Last edited by Zenfoldor; 2020-12-03 at 04:09 PM.

  11. #11
    Being a Force user without a lightsaber.
    We got the light side of the force (Light), the dark side (Void) and wielding both makes you grey (discipline).
    We can even use mind tricks like mind control, soothe or vision. Hell we even have psychic scream that Sith can use.

  12. #12
    I'll be talking from a game play perspective only.

    The main draw to the class for me is the high skill cap.

    The class fantasy of a priest is that you are a master of many unique, but situational tools. You can do things that no one else can, but you have to wait for the right moment to use these tools and you need to use them with caution, because they often are double-edged swords. Priests are about preparation, sacrifice and meticulousness and they know things most people do not. A good priest sees everything and does not react to things happening around him, rather than that he's already prepared and bides his time until the perfect moment comes up.

    A priest is a person who would tell you to mind your step, because they saw that you were spacing out. In a heated discussion they would dissolve the tension with just a few words. You will never know if they actually averted a crisis, but that doesn't stop them from being mindful.

    In game you see this with Mind Soothe for example. It's a situational spell that does nothing when used reactively and it doesn't even work in every situation. But let's say you are playing with newer players, the priest might have just saved the group from an accidental butt pull without anyone noticing.

    The next spell that comes to mind is Power Infusion. You can just use it on yourself on cooldown, but knowing which classes scale the best with haste and using it on them during burst windows turns it into a very powerful group multiplier which does not show up on damage meters. That's the theme of sacrifice I mentioned above. You give up standing in the spotlight so others can shine, because it's better for your common goal.

    A meticulous spell would be Power Word: Radiance. It's fairly forgiving to use, but if you do miss one of your party members, you are punished with disruption of your burst aoe combo.

    As for double-edged swords, the class is full of them. One is Surrender to Madness, because if you misjudge your damage, you will die as punishment. Shadow Covenant is another one. It hurts you, because you cannot use your holy spells while it is active, so you have to make sure to put them on cooldown before using this ability. If you don't use it properly, you are locked out of your dispels and most of your utility. Then there is Mind Control. You have to know the abilities of all enemies in every dungeon and cherry pick the right mobs to use. The downside is that you cannot heal while using this ability, unless you are a disc priest and that you receive aggro once the timer runs out, potentially leading to your death.

    A mindful spell would be Leap of Faith. Using it on reaction is often times too late. But let's say you are seeing that someone is about to be pushed off a platform by a knockback spell, you can use it to save them. Another example is Dispel Magic. You can take off powerful buffs from enemies and your group might not even notice it, but you're helping.

    Then there's the Night Fae covenant ability which doubles down on the things that make priest fun - helping people in ways that are hard to put into numbers.
    Last edited by Arazen; 2021-01-06 at 03:21 AM.

  13. #13
    "I would like to keep most of my blood on the inside today."

  14. #14
    I am Murloc! A Chozo's Avatar
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    First let's put notions of good and evil aside, because it has little to do with the playable Priest (you don't need to be evil to use Shadow magic, and you don't need to be good to use Holy Magic - Anduin and Benedictus, respectively).

    Someone who uses divine magic. Like a mage, they study it, and learn to use it, but Holy and Shadow spells have clear usage in Azeroth, which means Priests are usually people who want to reach the results usually achievable by Holy (healing) and/or Shadow (suffering of the mind and soul).

    Due to the type of magic, you need to be faithful or strong-willed to use it, further narrowing the scope of possible Priests.

    But in all Priests there's something clear: they are nothing without the others. They exist to influence someone else, helping or damaging. That's the primary intent - a form of selfless action. The weird cultist wants the best thing for their dark god, the Holy Light campaigner wants to save a small town, the Burning Blade Acolyte is trying to keep his peers alive in combat through basic healing magic, etc.
    Last edited by A Chozo; 2021-02-09 at 04:46 PM.

  15. #15
    I'd say it depends onthe class, a night elf priest for example, reveres elune. which gives them arcane spells. ( in classic they actually had an arcane spell) .
    Dwarves, humans, gnomes and blood elves have the Light.
    its basicly diffrent for each race.

  16. #16
    Well, I would say but I think I would probably get banned.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Noctiphobia View Post
    Doesn't really make sense to look at class fantasy rather than spec fantasy. E.g. shadow has very little to do with holy now. Just like marksmanship hunters are about being master snipers, which has very little to do with survival hunters, right?
    So, for shadow, the fantasy is someone who screws with your mind, and then dabbles into the void powers (again, heavily linked to the whole mind fuckery, see Old Gods) at the cost of their own sanity as well. And then there's devouring plague which doesn't connect with any of this in any way, and should be renamed to devouring despair or something like that to make sense.
    For holy, I'd say the fantasy is pretty obvious, I'd say.
    For discipline, it's about balancing the holy and the shadow, helping allies while hurting the enemies. The pragmatic way where they see that both light and shadow are useful, and anyway they are two sides of the same coin.
    This is kind of why i want to see blizz break classes into just specs and allow players to pick and choose what specs they want for their character.
    Its kind of ridiculous having shadow and holy on the same class as they have nothing to do with eachother.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Noctiphobia View Post
    Doesn't really make sense to look at class fantasy rather than spec fantasy. E.g. shadow has very little to do with holy now. Just like marksmanship hunters are about being master snipers, which has very little to do with survival hunters, right?
    So, for shadow, the fantasy is someone who screws with your mind, and then dabbles into the void powers (again, heavily linked to the whole mind fuckery, see Old Gods) at the cost of their own sanity as well. And then there's devouring plague which doesn't connect with any of this in any way, and should be renamed to devouring despair or something like that to make sense.
    For holy, I'd say the fantasy is pretty obvious, I'd say.
    For discipline, it's about balancing the holy and the shadow, helping allies while hurting the enemies. The pragmatic way where they see that both light and shadow are useful, and anyway they are two sides of the same coin.
    Just a note on Devouring Plague: The Plague has a mind rotting element to it. Scourge in the old world will inflict conditions like Mind Rot to the player. NPCs afflicted with the Plague have often said things like, 'my mind is... rotting!' and such. So, while maybe The Plague is a concoction moreso of Death, there are similarities to Void with how it breaks the mind. Forsaken also after breaking free will often have their mental state altered to be muted or more aggressive or predisposed to pain as a result of The Plague and being touched by the Shadow. As a connecting set of circumstances whether it be Death or Void magic, it seems to debilitate the mind and sanity when it comes to Plague so I don't think we can say Devouring Plague has nothing to do with it and hell I think considering The Plague's origins being tied to Dreadlords as agents of the past of Void there's more connection there and certainly as well with the LK connection with Old God blood via Saronite - but it is probably a lot more accurate to say visually disease just doesn't jive with void, although The Plague does rot the mind.

  19. #19
    I agree that priest should be viewed as specs.

    Shadow is quite far from holy (opposites in terms of wow lore)

    Holy - devout faith, channels the light. Restores allies and supports them.

    Shadow - fanatical, channels the void. Destroys enemies mind and body. They also take/drain from their enemies to replenish themselves (and allies).

    Disc - though its a combination I feel its not 1/2 holy or 1/2 shadow (as in the specs), its about balance between light and void. Its spells are mostly power words and "reflective" named spells (penance and atonement). Without light there is no shadow, without dark is there really light.

    Nb: holy still has shadow spells for gameplay reasons (spell schools) but I dont think in lore holy priests use shadow spells.
    Last edited by Comfort; 2021-04-15 at 11:40 AM.

  20. #20
    The fundamental concept of a priest or cleric in basically all traditional fantasy is that you channel the power of greater beings. That's about it.

    They don't have inborn power (like traditional mages/sorcerers) or study arcane tomes to unravel secrets of the universe (mages/wizards), they tap into otherworldly powers that are barely comprehensible. Without their god, priests are nothing.


    There's no contradiction with holy or shadow priests. It all comes from the same basic concept.

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