the Divine conduit
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The priest is the master of healing and preservation, restoring his wounded allies, shielding them in battle and even resurrecting his fallen comrades from death. While he has a variety of protective and enhancement spells to bolster his allies, the priest can also wreak terrible vengeance on his enemies, using the grand powers of the Holy Light to smite and purge them or the devastating powers of the shadow to decimate their minds. The priest is a diverse and powerful class, highly desirable in any group and capable of fulfilling multiple roles.
The priest is perhaps the best healing class in the game with a surprisingly strong damage potential as well (should the player choose to enhance this aspect of the class). Their ability to heal and buff allies, avoid aggro, dispel buffs on enemies, dispel debuffs on their allies, and resurrect fallen comrades makes them an important member of any group, whether it's PvP or PvE. Due to this, priests are one of the most highly sought after classes for any group.
Priests practice a complex, organized form of spirituality built around moral philosophy, the worship of a particular deity (such as Elune) in some cases, and/or idol worship, rather than around the reverence of the elements that shamans practice, or the close divine connection with animals and the wilderness that druids maintain. Priests serve not only as influential religious figures in their respective societies, but also as powerful practitioners of divine magic, which they use to heal and protect, or harm and weaken.
Devotion to the faiths of Azeroth leads many priests to the paths of courage and heroism. In dark times, priests carry the Light of faith with them as a reminder of the powerful forces at work beyond the comprehension of the peoples who walk the land. Powerful healers with an intimate connection to the divine, priests are empowered with abilities that aid them in times of dire need.
Priests comprise quite a varied group in Azeroth. A female priest is called a "priestess". Many are followers, in some manner, of the Holy Light. Some priests choose to be pyremasters or High Priest, while some of the most experienced become epic priests. There are also racial restrictions to some titles, such as witch doctor for trolls and Priestess of the Moon for night elf females.
The Clerics of Northshire were human priests who served the kingdom of Stormwind during the First War. The clerics served as healers on the battlefield, but were ill-prepared for the hazards of combat, and thus suffered heavy casualties. This order was largely destroyed, and the Second War saw fragile priests replaced on the battlefield by armored paladins, the Knights of the Silver Hand — established by the clerics' leader Archbishop Alonsus Faol and his apprentice Uther the Lightbringer.
During events of the Third War, despite the high elves' official departure from the Alliance, some elves still remained true to their former human and dwarven allies. The altruistic priests of Quel'Thalas refused to abandon their roles as healers and agreed to remain in Lordaeron despite the edicts from their reclusive masters in Silvermoon. The high elven priests used their Light-given powers to heal the wounded and bolster the spirits of Lordaeron’s fighting elite. A holy field medic, these padres roam the battlefield curing the wounds of fallen comrades.
Forsaken who once followed the tenets of the Holy Light altered their philosophy upon their transformation. Most forsaken have abandoned religion, just as they believe it abandoned them. Some still adhere to their old faiths, such as the Holy Light. Priests of the Holy Light in particular struggle to reconcile the philosophy that guided their life with their unfortunate new condition. Some balance their old beliefs with their new forms, but most forsaken priests belong to The Cult of Forgotten Shadow. Lost and hurt, these priests founded a new religion based on a self-centered version of their former faith. This philosophy centers around self-empowerment and a desire to balance life with death. While they can no longer use the Holy Light, and have since learned how to use the shadow; the priests teach that there must be a balance between light and shadow, and members must learn the Light as well, but never forget they were born from the shadow.
The troll priesthoods are, much like the shamans and the witch doctors of the various troll tribes, spiritual advisers and caretakers. With trolls being naturally superstitious and spiritual, it allows the various troll priests to manipulate the spiritual energy of the world in order to either heal or harm their targets. The various energies that the troll priests draw can come from various sources, be it Loa spirits, voodoo magic or the target itself. Drawing upon these energies, the troll priests either mend or harm, depending on which blessing the spiritual entity bestows. Arguably, in World of Warcraft, troll priests can be considered witch doctors in a cultural perspective, in equal terms with the shamans.
- Main article: List of priests
|File:IconSmall Anduin.gif Anduin Wrynn||Prince of Stormwind||Alive||Stormwind Keep,Stormwind City|
|Archbishop Benedictus||Leader of the Church of the Holy Light||Alive||Cathedral of Light, Stormwind City|
|Archbishop Alonsus Faol||Leader of the Church of Light||Deceased||Faol's Rest, Tirisfal Glades|
|File:IconSmall Iridi.gif Iridi||Priestess||Deceased||Buried in Outland|
|Rastakhan||King of all living trolls on Azeroth||Alive||Zuldazar|
|Sen'jin||Former leader of the Darkspear tribe||Deceased|
|Vol'jin||Leader of the Darkspear tribe||Alive||Orgrimmar, Durotar|
|File:IconSmall Tyrande.gif Tyrande Whisperwind||High priestess of Elune||Alive||Temple of the Moon, Darnassus|
- Main article: Priest abilities
- Healing: single target heals, group heals, heals over time, Resurrection.
- Holy magic: Power Words, buffs, dispels and cures, direct damage.
- Shadow magic: Shadow Words, direct damage, damage over time, mana drains, aggro control, Mind Control.
- Miscellaneous: limited crowd control.
Stats, weapons, and armor
- The most important stats for a priest are (depending on the chosen talents): intellect, haste, spellpower, stamina and spell crit.
- The priest begins with proficiency in staffs, one-handed maces, wands and daggers.
- The priest can only wear cloth armor. For details on set items that are useful for priests, see priest sets.
- Priest recommended enchantments
- Main article: Priest races
The priest class can be played by the following races:
The discipline tree focuses on damage mitigation and strengthening the priest's buffs such as Power Word: Fortitude and Inner Fire. Discipline priests have Penance, which is one of the most efficient single target heal spells in the game. The tree is generally concentrated to keeping a Tank alive, while supporting the raid with damage mitigation through the highly improved Power Word: Shield and fast dispels. Disc priests also have a collection of "panic" buttons with short cooldowns that can be used to prevent a raid member (mainly the tank) from dying to an unavoidable circumstance. Discipline is also the preferred spec for PvP; with the shortage of mana regen and intellect on PvP gear the efficiency of the discipline tree, and the ability to keep yourself alive through an onslaught, really shines.
Holy priests are one of the most versatile healers in the game, with a variety of tools to sustain their group. In the fifth row of the holy tree, a priest can get a very useful talent for only five points. Spiritual Guidance increases the priest's spellpower by 25% of their Spirit. Next to that is Spirit of Redemption, which not only increases total Spirit by 5%, but when the priest dies, it brings them back to life as a Spirit that can cast any healing spell free of charge for 15 seconds. This can easily prevent a wipe. In the ninth talent row a very useful ability of the holy priest is Circle of Healing, which instantly heals the lowest five party/raid members around the target and has only a six second cooldown. This spell is key in the ability of the holy priest to AoE heal a raid. The final ability in the tree is Guardian Spirit. The Spirit increases the healing received by the target by 40% and also prevents the target from dying by sacrificing itself. This sacrifice terminates the effect but heals the target for 50% of their maximum health. Guardian Spirit lasts only 10 seconds, but has a fairly short cooldown of three minutes, or 2.5 minutes if glyphed.
Shadow talents primarily enhance a priest's damage. One of the most important shadow spells gained through shadow talents is Mind Flay, a three second channeled spell that causes damage and slows the target to 50% of its movement speed.
The Spirit Tap talent is generally the recipient of any priest's first talent point. After killing a mob that grants experience or a player that grants honor, Spirit Tap doubles the priest's spirit and allows 83% mana regeneration while casting for 15 seconds. Another important talent in the shadow tree is Vampiric Embrace, available at level 30. This shadow spell places a buff on the priest for thirty minutes, which heals all party members for X% of the priest's single-target shadow damage. It is also the pre-requisite to Shadowform.
Another vital talent of the shadow tree is Shadowform. When activated, Shadowform gives the priest a 15% shadow spell damage bonus and a 15% reduction to all damage taken. It also prevents the casting of holy spells, except for Cure Disease and Abolish Disease. As such, Vampiric Embrace and Devouring Plague are the only options besides consumables for priests in Shadowform to heal themselves. As of 3.0.2 Shadowform also allows your DoT damage over time effects to crit and decreases threat generated by 30%.
One of the most useful shadow talents, Vampiric Touch, causes a 15 second DoT effect on the target. On a successful Mind Blast hit, it places the Replenishment effect on up to 10 raid or party members, which restores 1% of their total mana every 5 seconds for 15 seconds.
One talent added by the Burning Crusade is Misery, which raises the party or raid's chance to hit the target with spells by 3% at maximum rank. This is extremely useful in parties and raids as it allows other casters in the party/raid to replace hit gear with gear that would otherwise provide more overall DPS.
With the addition of patch 3.0.2 and the release of Wrath of the Lich King, shadow priests gained an Evocation-style instant-cast mana regeneration spell called Dispersion, along with an area of effect spell called Mind Sear, removing the two largest weaknesses of the class prior to the newest expansion.
With the Cataclysm expansion priests get a new shadow spell called Mind Spike. When you get to level 81 your trainer will award you with this spell. This is a universal spell in that it can be used in any spec. Do a couple of Mind Spikes and you got yourself a dead opponent. Best for leveling priest class.
See also common leveling and end game priest builds.
- Main article: Priest tactics
Priests are generally regarded as a tough class to play in PvP, but they are highly desired in battle grounds. They are easily the best healer in the game and a great utility class. They are very dependent on how their talent points are spent. A priest that spends most of his talent points in the discipline tree will be better off in PvP, while holy and shadow priests are highly desired for instancing and raiding. While the discipline and holy talent trees focus on making very strong healers, the shadow tree focuses on damage dealing, while restoring the party's health and mana at the same time.
Many players regard healing priests as being the jack-of-all-trades healing class due to the great diversity of healing spells at their disposal. This includes direct healing, healing over time, area of effect healing, and the ability to shield targets from damage. Due to this great diversity, a healing priest can heal any encounter, while the other healing classes may find it more difficult.
Healing priest tactics generally involve conserving mana while deciding the ideal time to heal. The player must decide which spell to use and at what time. While Flash Heal and Power Word: Shield may be very mana intensive, they are excellent methods to bring someone close to death back up quickly. Many priests use a tactic known as stopcasting. In this method, the priest will constantly use Greater Heal; however, if in the 2.5-second cast time the target never takes sufficient damage, the priest will cancel the heal before it goes off and begin recasting.
The goal of a shadow priest is to keep a series of spells with unique cool-downs and durations going constantly. A shadow priest must cycle through several direct damage, channeled, and damage over time spells. A shadow priest is unique in that Vampiric Embrace restores health to the priest's entire party, which is based upon the damage the priest deals. They can also help restore mana to up to 10 party or raid members through Replenishment, which they trigger by using Vampiric Touch in conjunction with Mind Blast. A shadow priest, if talented, will also increase the effectiveness of all spell casters attacking the same target as the priest. These abilities make the shadow priest a great utility class while in instances and in raids.
Though many priests found themselves originally pigeonholed into a single role in classic World of Warcraft, many are experiencing greater freedom in a post-Burning Crusade raiding environment. Priests are capable of filling both healing and damage dealing roles, depending on the priest's spec and the need of the raid. This flexibility is further aided by the increased debuff cap making it easier to allow multiple shadow priests to contribute without being detrimental to a raid.
End game healing
Healing priests are valued by many as proficient and skilled healers, capable of utilizing a variety of heals and numerous buffs that benefit raiders such as Power Word: Fortitude, Divine Spirit, Shadow Protection and Power Word: Shield. These buffs can be further improved by spending points in the discipline tree for Improved Power Word: Fortitude and Improved Power Word: Shield. While sometimes considered by some to be mana inefficient when compared with other healing classes, the introduction of the Shadowfiend in the Burning Crusade allows a healing priest to regain a significant amount of mana used to continue healing while providing negligible damage against one target. The use of the talent Lightwell can allow raiders to regain health by accessing the conjured well, while Spirit of Redemption allows priests specced deep in the holy tree to continue casting healing spells on a raid for 15seconds beyond death with no expense to mana. When speaking of end-game priests at level 80 there are two types of priests to consider:
- Deep holy specced priests
- Deep discipline specced priests
For priests deeply specced in the discipline tree, their strength lies in preventing damage. They cannot put out as much raw healing as holy priests can, however the strategy for discipline priests is quite different; they prefer instead to strengthen allies and prevent damage from happening by shielding others. Discipline priests are capable of healing multiple targets, but in a large group their role will usually be to keep the main tank alive. Their tree focuses on protection using Power Word: Shield and Flash Heal. While healing priests do not possess the raid healing output of a druid or the tank healing capabilities of a holy paladin, priests are incredibly proficient at both of theses roles earning them the name "The jack of all trades, master none".
End-game damage dealing
The strength and versatility of a shadow-specced priest has been recognized as an invaluable asset in both five mans and raids. A shadow priest is capable of contributing significant damage as well as providing a variety of buffs and debuffs that benefit the group as a whole. A shadow priest's Misery is a debuff that increases the chance to hit the target by 1/2/3% and increases the damage of a shadow priest's Mind Blast, Mind Flay and Mind Sear spells by an amount equal to 5/10/15% of their spellpower. It should be noted, however, that a single shadow priest can easily keep the Misery debuff active and additional effects from other shadow priests will not stack on the same target. The Vampiric Embrace talent gives a portion of the shadow priest's single-target shadow damage as a group-wide heal that can aid in keeping the health of group members up; this can be especially helpful when grouped with a tank and warlocks who Life Tap frequently, as well as rogues and Feral druids performing melee damage.
Most importantly, Vampiric Touch benefits a caster or healer group by providing mana over the course of the fight. This is the primary reason to have a shadow priest in raids; to either provide the mana to healers during a healing-intensive fight, or to damage dealing casters in fights which focus on burst or constant area of effect damage, as well as to Paladin tanks who must use mana for their threat generating abilities.
These debuffs are an addition to the base priest Power Word: Fortitude, Shadow Protection, and Power Word: Shield buffs and can be improved by delving into the discipline tree for Improved Power Word: Fortitude and Improved Power Word: Shield. As a result, raiding builds exist that range from the full 61-point shadow build to hybrid builds with points in the discipline tree or even holy tree for greater versatility. In addition to providing significant damage and buffs, shadow priests have the flexibility to drop out of Shadowform and provide backup healing if the situation warrants, though they typically suffer from the lack of points spent in the holy tree and reduced bonus healing from damage-oriented gear.
On the other hand, some DPS priests will go more into discipline and put some in either shadow, or holy to increase their damage even more. A DPS priest with discipline and shadow doesn't have the damage potential of a shadow priest with most talents into shadow, however, they will receive the boost to their group buffs, have a threat reducing move for others, and also have the potential to heal slightly to assist the healer when necessary. A DPS priest with discipline and holy is much more versatile than one with shadow, the holy hybrid has a few key moves that can benefit him/herself and even make things a little easier (little in a rather small sense) for the healer. With the talents in holy, usually a priest will have the 5% additional chance to critically hit with holy spells from Holy Specialization, after that it can vary, but another option would be to get Spell Warding to reduce spell damage taken. The best bet however is to put five in Divine Fury to reduce cast time of some of your offensive spells and then top that off with Searing Light later on down the tree, to increase overall damage. Finally the last talent to pick up should be Desperate Prayer, because it is low-cost and is an instant heal, which goes good with Mental Agility in discipline to reduce the mana cost further. The discipline DPS class isn't for everyone and can take a long time to master, but it is a fun and challenging class to play and some will enjoy it more than others.
- Starting a priest
- Getting your first wand
- Priest quests
- Priest PvE guide
- Priest PvP guide
- Useful Macros for Priests