Devoted to the spiritual, Priests express their unwavering faith by serving the people. For millennia they have left behind the confines of their temples and the comfort of their shrines so they can support their allies in war-torn lands. In the midst of terrible conflict, no hero questions the value of the priestly orders. (source)
Updated for Mists of Pandaria patch 5.2. Also see our Priest in M of P post, which covers the new stuff.
Other Priest Guides
5.2 Patch Notes for Priests
All of the official patch notes can he found here.
Tier 1 (Level 15) Talents:
- Dominate Mind now has a 1.8-second cast time (was 2.5 seconds.)
- Psyfiend belonging to an individual Priest will no longer cast Psychic Horror on the same target twice.
Tier 2 (Level 30) Talents:
- Angelic Feather now has a 6 second duration (was 4 seconds.)
- Phantasm no longer makes the Priest untargetable by ranged attacks, and the movement impairing immunity effect is now 5 seconds (was 3 seconds.)
Tier 3 (Level 45) Talents:
- Power Word: Solace has been replaced with a new talent: Solace & Insanity, which teaches you the Power Word: Solace ability
- For Holy and Discipline, Power Word: Solace replaces Holy Fire. It deals the same damage, and interacts with other spells and abilities in the same manner but does not trigger Atonement, is instant, costs no mana, and restores 1% of maximum mana on each cast. Damage dealt by Power Word: Solace will heal a nearby friendly player within 40 yards of the target for 100% of the damage dealt (50% when healing the Priest.)
- For Shadow, this ability causes Mind Flay to gain the Insanity effect on a target affected by Devouring Plague. Insanity increases the damage of Mind Flay by 33% per Shadow Orb consumed
Tier 4 (Level 60) Talents:
- Angelic Bulwark can no longer be dispelled.
Tier 5 (Level 75) Talents:
- Power Infusion now increases the Priest’s damage by 5% in addition to current effects.
Tier 6 (Level 90) Talents:
- Halo will no longer hit enemies that are in stealth.
- The amount of healing done by Flash Heal, Binding Heal, Renew, and Prayer of Mending have been reduced by 20%, but Spiritual Healing is a new passive ability obtained by Discipline and Holy Priests at level 10. This ability increases the amount of healing done by Flash Heal, Binding Heal, Renew, and Prayer of Mending by 25%. This means that for Holy and Discipline Priests, there is no decrease to the amount of healing done by those four spells.
- Evangelism’s stacking effect now also increases the healing of Penance.
- Focused Will is now a passive for Holy Priests, as well as Discipline Priests.
- Mastery: Shield Discipline now also increases all healing done by a lesser amount, but the bonus provided by Mastery has been reduced by 36%.
- Penance damage and healing has been increased by 20%, now a cooldown of 9 seconds (was 10 seconds), and has a range of 40 yards for both friendly and hostile targets (was 40 yards for friendly and 30 yards for hostile targets.)
- Focused Will now reduce damage taken by 15% per stack, with a limit of 2 stacks.
- Spirit Shell can no longer be dispelled and now provides an absorb shield equal to the average healing and absorb of the triggering spell, including criticals and Divine Aegis.
- Rapture now reduces the cost of Power Word: Shield by 25% and provides mana equal to 150% (was 200%) of the Priest’s Spirit, but no longer benefits from Spirit provided by short-duration bonuses.
- Divine Aegis now causes critical heals to apply an absorb shield on the target for 100% of the amount healed instead of healing for twice as much. In addition, it grants Power Word: Shield a chance equal to the Priest’s critical chance for the shield to absorb twice as much damage.
- Holy Fire is now an instant cast ability.
- Pain Suppression can now always be cast while stunned.
- Casting Inner Focus now always grants 5 seconds of immunity to silences, interrupts, and dispels.
- Focused Will now reduce damage taken by 15% per stack, with a limit of 2 stacks.
- Holy Fire is now an instant cast ability.
- Guardian Spirit can now always be cast while stunned.
- Dispersion now belongs to the Shadow spell school.
- Shadowform now increases the Priest’s Shadow damage by 25% (was 20%.)
Glyphs and Gear
- Glyph of Mind Spike only works from Mind Spikes that aren’t instant casts from Surge of Darkness.
- Glyph of Desperation has been replaced with Glyph of Binding Heal.
- Glyph of Inner Focus has been replaced with Glyph of Weakened Soul.
- Glyph of Holy Fire has been redesigned. It now increases the range of Holy Fire, Smite, and Power Word: Solace by 10 yards.
- New Glyph: Glyph of Weakened Soul reduces the duration of Weakened Soul by 2 seconds.
- New Glyph: Glyph of Binding Heal applies Binding Heal to a third nearby friendly target, but costs 35% more mana.
- The 2-piece Holy/Discipline PvP set bonus has been replaced by the now the previous 4-piece set bonus.
- The 4-piece Holy/Discipline PvP set bonus has been redesigned. It now reduces the cooldown of Chakra by 25 seconds. When Spirit Shell is active, the mana cost of Flash Heal is reduced by 50%.
- Tier-14 Holy/Discipline 4-piece set bonus now reduces the cooldown of Penance by 3 seconds (was 4 seconds.)
Quick Guide to All Priests
Being casters all Priests will have certain things in common, whether they heal or they’re pure damage machines.
- Priests can use Daggers, Maces, Staves, and Wands.
- Int is the #1 stat for all Priests, Spirit is #2.
- Spell Hit adds together your Hit, Expertise, and racial Expertise (if you’re equipping the right weapon.) The Human Spirit bonus does add to the Spell Hit rating for S. Priests.
- Red Int gems (“Brilliant”) in all sockets, if you PvP then use PvP Power gems.
- PvP Power is a very useful stats for PvP Priests. It’s the same as Attack Power except that it boosts healing and damage and only Vs other players. Outside of PvP it’s useless, inside of PvP it’s almost as valuable as Int.
- Haste is a generally good secondary stat for all Priests.
- Enchants should be Int, Spellpower, Spirit, Haste.
- See below for PvE, PvP, and leveling info.
- Race: Play what you like, but if you want to be more efficient…
- Humans, for the Spirit gain and PvP trinket escape
- Gnomes for size, escape, and mana pool (and Engineering boost if you like that skill)
- Trolls for Berserking and Da Voodoo Shuffle
- Goblins for escape (Rocket Jump) and Haste.
- Pandaren if you like to eat
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Race Choices for Priests
Pandarens can be Priests, Orcs are the only race which cannot be priests.
The best race choice is the one that you want to play. Your skills will far outshadow any of the racials. That said, here’s a rundown of the racial bonuses.
- Horde: Troll (Berserking, VooDoo Shuffle), Uneaded (PvP – remove effects)
- Alliance: Human (Spirit, Escape, Rep gains)
Pandarens get to choose, once they leave the starting area, whether they will join Horde or Alliance.
- Can stun enemies with a strike of their hand, but you rarely will want to be that close to the opposition.
- Rested (as from an Inn) XP lasts longer for faster leveling
- Increased benefits from food buffs is especially nice for raiding.
- Good at Cooking.
- “Bouncy,” so take less falling damage
Blood Elf - Best hair, no useful Priest abilities.
- Arcane Torrent restores some Mana and interrupts casting. Unfortunately, it’s point blank and won’t interrupt those melee types who will be in your face (in PvP)
- Good with Enchanting
Goblin – Holy relics for sale! What? Of course they’re genuine! You calling me a con gob, bud?
- Rocket Jump is a nice escape or gap closer.
- 1% Haste is a nice stat for any Priest.
- Vendor Discounts and a personal bank
- Good with Alchemy
Tauren – You have no interesting Priest specific abilities, you only look like a teddy bear, and you’re the butt of cow jokes.
- War Stomp might have some use when mobs/melee get too close, allowing you to escape.
- Increased health isn’t increased by that much at high level, but is always nice. It’s about the same as several Stam gems.
- Good with Herbalism
Troll – Good Priest choice, and the best tusks anywhere.
- Berkerk is a nice spell casting speed increase.
- Damage increase Vs beasts is very nice when leveling and has some PvE use when fighting beast trash.
- Reduced duration of movement impairing effects has more PvP use than otherwise.
- Ranged weapon expertise is of no use to you.
Undead – “And you are…?”
- Removing fear, charm, etc is a nice PvP ability and has some PvE use.
- Cannibalism means never having to pack food/water in your bags and is a nice “in your face” for PvP.
- Touch of the Grave is the new undead racial for Mists of Pandaria. It’s a passive effect that drains life and heals you for the same amount. It will add a bit to your damage totals.
- +1 to Hit helps with end-game gearing in PvE, but mostly for Shadow.
- The heal is redundant, for Holy and Discipline. Shadow might find some use for it, since you won’t have to drop out of Shadowform to use it.
Dwarf - No “short jokes” please.
- Stoneform removes bleeds and reduces damage by 10%
- Ranged weapon expertise is useless.
- Mace expertise will add +1 to your Spell Hit if you are equipping a mace.
- Good with Archeology
- Increased Spirit helps with mana regen. and will count towards your Shadow Spiritual Precision ability.
- Bonus to rep gains helps with faction grinding
- PvP trinket ability allows use of two DPS/Healing trinkets in PvP and can break some PvE mechanics.
- If you equip a mace in your main hand then the Human expertise racial will give you a +1% to your Spell Hit.
- Can escape from speed altering effects, which has PvP use and situational PvE use.
- Increased mana pool helps, a bit.
- If you equip a dagger in your main hand then the Gnome expertise racial will give you a +1% to your Spell Hit.
- Good with Engineering
- Shadowmeld has its uses in PvP and can drop aggro in PvE. Just that thing for those “oops!” moments.
- Being 2% harder to hit has more PvP use than PvE.
- Wisp form, while dead, lets you get back to your body faster. Hopefully you don’t have to use that too oftern.
- 1% crit bonus is nice for heals or damage.
- Sprint-like ability has its uses.
- Good with Skinning
Priest Abilities & Specializations
Priests, like all classes, possess three unique trees holding numerous spells designed to support and aid in all pursuits, whether they be damage, healing, or simply survival.
In essence by choosing one tree over another you almost redefine exactly what your class is made to do, as opposed to others who simply improve one function over another (Rogues, for example.) Ultimately this requires you to choose wisely as to which tree you’ll invest your points in.
Shadow is the pillar of priest strength and is practically our only source of efficient damage when questing/leveling. It holds the Nukes, all of our DoT’s, and the only available silence, gained at level 52,
Finally shadow provides the tools to become a viable end-game raiding DPSer and even raid support. With spells such as Vampiric embrace a priest can restore some of her own life as well as to her team members, all while increasing the damage dealt to her target via an assortment of DoTs and direct damage spells.
Shadow Priest Leveling
Leveling as a shadow priest is my personal favorite and the obvious choice for a solo Priest looking to hit the level cap as quickly as possible. It limits your healing abilities somewhat, especially what with Shadowform locking them out unless you drop the spell, but all in all gives back far more than enough to make up for it.
By carefully calculating out a spell rotation for whatever mobs you happen to be fighting, you can effectively create a never-ending grinding cycle as you regenerate enough health and mana per fight to more than replace all that was lost from being beat on/using spells.
See our Shadowpriest leveling page for builds, more info, and tips.
With shadow being a priests damage capability, discipline is our survivability, it encompasses all our defensive and buffing abilities such as Power Word: Fortitude and Power Word: Shield, both immensely useful for all styles of play including solo leveling, PvP, and raiding.
Discipline also provides our only means of improving armor and defense against melee attacks aside from a straight up damage shield, this being inner fire, a charged armor buff providing protection for a period of time.
By going deeper into the discipline tree you gain increasing survivability and mana efficiency, making it an ideal complimenting tree for either shadow or holy, and when chosen as your primary investment it can be ideal for PvP situations.
Holy is the core of what defines a priest, being a tree dedicated entirely to healing. This was originally the priest’s one and only reason for being viable in teams and raiding in general, and although shadow has now become an equal as far as utility is concerned, holy priests still represent a large factor in group success.
Of our holy spells we gain renew, our only heal over time, as well as heal and greater heal, the latter being a massive raid saver for the tank when used at the right moment, and multiple AoE healing abilities that drastically improve your odds of completing several boss fights.
Finally the holy tree grants us the ability to ‘improve death” by casting the spirit of redemption form which lasts for 15 seconds after death and giving them the ability to cast heals without mana cost. This often will allow the Priest to save groups from a wipe, demonstrating amazing effectiveness even after death.
Discipline/Holy Priest Leveling
Both of these builds are generally used for those who forsake the path of shadow, granting a combined bonus to healing and mana efficiency that shadow won’t require due to its vampiric talents. Additionally this style of leveling should only be used for those who have a few dedicated leveling buds to call on at any given time, otherwise you’re only slowing yourself down.
Smite and Holy fire remain generally weak and mana inefficient until the high 40’s and 50’s, this slowly starts to be negated as you pick up more spell damage and improve your overall mana regeneration via massive amounts of spirit plus MP5(Mana per 5 seconds gear.)
Although I won’t recommend this style of killing, it is possible for those who wish to do so. It just won’t be as fast as shadow, no matter what gear you pick up, and you’ll also find your overall power quite low until you hit Outland.
Priest Stats, Gems, Enchants
Generally speaking, for all Priests:
- Int is your #1 stat, by far.
- Spirit is very useful for mana regen and Shadow’s Spiritual Precision ability gives you Hit rating from your Spirit.
- Agility & Strength are to be avoided.
- The Stamina on your gear will be enough, though you may want to get a lot at low levels, for survival.
- Resilience is only for PvP, even in Mists of Pandaria.
- PvP Power is great for PvP and only for PvP. Point for point Int is better, but PvP Power gems have twice the value of Int gems.
- The Value of Mastery varies with your spec.
- Hit is necessary if you’re attacking rather than healing
- Shadow will need 15% hit for raid bosses, 6% for PvP
- The same is true for Holy and Discipline if you’re doing anything other than healing.
- Haste is a good stat for all Priests, and more is better. You will burn mana faster and your DoTs will tick faster.
- Crit is a useful stat.
- Expertise adds to your spell hit.
- Dodge, Parry, and excess Hit should be avoided.
Unless a socket bonus offers a solid Int bonus, it’s more effective to gem for pure intellect and ignore the bonus. Other gems are shown if you want to get that bonus. If you find yourself short of the cash needed to buy expensive gems then you should see this post.
Gems with secondary stats have twice the value of gems with primary stats, so your Haste gems are 320 points and your Int gems are 160. This does give some reason to match socket bonuses, though we recommend only doing it if it’s for a nice Int or Spirit bonus. Several gems are shown if you need to work on some stat other than Int.
Orange gems can match your yellow sockets, green or purple gems can match the blue sockets. The green Vivid Wild Jade (see table) would be a nice PvP gem to stick in all yellow or blue sockets.
Your Mysticism adds to any Int gem bonuses, making them worth 5% more Int. That bonus does not add to other stats.
|Gems for Priests|
|Meta||Burning Primal Diamond: +216 Int & 3% Increased Crit Effect
Revitalizing Primal Diamond: +432 Spirit & 3% Increased Crit Effect
|Red||Brilliant Serpent’s Eye: 320 Int, self-only Jewelcrafting gem
Brilliant Primordial Ruby: 160 Int
|Yellow||Mystic Sun’s Radiance: 320 Resilience
Quick Sun’s Radiance: +320 Haste
Fractured Sun’s Radiance: +320 Mastery
Smooth Sun’s Radiance: +320 Crit
|Blue||Stormy River’s Heart: +320 PvP power
Sparkling River’s Heart: +320 Spirit
|Orange||Willful Vermilion Onyx: +80 Int & +160 Resilience
Potent Vermilion Onyx: +80 Int & +160 Crit
Reckless Vermilion Onyx: 80 Int, 160 Haste
Tenuous Vermilion Onyx: 160 Expertise, 160 Resilience
Artful Vermilion Onyx: +80 Int & +160 Mastery
|Green||Vivid Wild Jade: +160 Res, +160 PvP Power
Energized Wild Jade: +160 Haste, +160 Spirit
Zen Wild Jade: +160 Mastery, +160 Spirit
|Purple||Mysterious Imperial Amethyst: +80 Int, +160 PvP Power
Purified Imperial Amethyst: +80 Int, +160 Spirit
Veiled Imperial Amethyst: 80 Int and 160 Hit
|Prismatic||Brilliant Primordial Ruby: 160 Int|
|Cogwheel||Sparkling Tinker’s Gear: 600 Spirit – requires an engie helm, such as this.
Quick Tinker’s Gear: 600 Haste
Smooth Tinker’s Gear: 600 Crit
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 600 Mastery
Helm enchants are gone in Mists of Pandaria, shoulder enchants all come from the Inscription profession. As with gems, your Mysticism adds to any Int enchants.
|Enchantments for Priests|
|Weapon||Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit: Sometimes increases Int by 1650, might increase Spirit by 750 if mana is low.
Enchant Weapon – Windsong: Sometimes increase Crit, Haste, or Mastery by 1,500 for 12 seconds.
|Shoulders||Secret Crane Wing Inscription: 520 Int and 100 Crit rating, Requires Inscription 550.
Greater Crane Wing Inscription: +200 Int and 100 Crit
|Cloak||Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect: +180 Int
Lightweave Embroidery – attacks can give 2k Int for 15 sec, requires tailoring
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Super Resilience: +200 Resilience
Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: +80 to all stats
Enchant Chest – Mighty Spirit: +200 Spirit
|Bracers||Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect: +180 Int
Fur Lining increases Int by 500, requires leatherworking.
Socket Bracer – Pop in a gem, requires Blacksmithing 400
|Gloves||Enchant Gloves – Greater Haste: +170-Haste
Socket Gloves – Pop in a gem, requires Blacksmithing 400
|Belt||Livingsteel Belt Buckle: Gem slot for a nice Int gem|
|Leggings||Greater Pearlescent Spellthread: +285 Int and +165 Spirit
Greater Cerulean Spellthread: +285 Int and +165 Crit
|Boots||Enchant Boots – Greater Precison: +175 Hit rating
Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step: +140 Mastery, slight run speed increase.
Enchant Boots – Greater Haste: +175 Haste
|Rings||Enchant Ring – Greater Intellect: +160 Int, Requires Enchanting 550|
Priests in Mists of Pandaria
Mists of Pandaria is the new WoW expansion and Blizzard completely changed talents and abilities for all classes, in addition to adding a few new ones.
Here’s how things looks so far (in the Beta.)
- Prime glyphs are going away and a lot of glyphs will change, as well as new ones appearing.
- Your ranged weapon slot is gone, though you can still use wands. What you have now is “main hand” and “off hand” items.
- Talents as they were in Cataclysm are going away (see video, below.)
- All Priests will share a pool of abilities, as the do now.
- Each spec will have a number of abilities unique to that spec, several of which used to be talents.
- All Priest will be able to pick any of the talents from the talent pool. This pool is made up of six tiers of talents, reached at levels 15, 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90. You can pick one from each tier, for six talents at level 90.
- There are no longer points to spend in any talent or ability. When you pick it up you have the whole thing.
This video is the Blizcon 2011 introduction to the new Priest talents. There have been changes since the video was made, but it will give you an idea of how things work now, especially if you are coming back to WoW from an earlier time.
The Fast Priest Leveling Guide
WoW has about a bazillion quests and sometimes one is left with the question, “where to go… how do I find… what to do next…?” Especially if you haven’t already leveled several charaters to the max.
Leveling your Priest, of any build, doesn’t have to be an exercise in frustration. Grab yourself a full blown leveling guide, like Zygor’s guide, and you will never again have to ask any of the “Where to go…” questions.
Zygor’s shows you the full step by step path all the way to the end, regardless of youir starting point. This means that the guide knows where you are (zone and level) and updates your quests and directions as you move along (though it won’t play the game for you.)
Everything you need to know is contained within the guide and it’s displayed (in a moveable, resizeable window) on your main screen. You may never have to look at your quest log again, much less consult some website. It doesn’t matter whether you’re brand new to the World of Warcraft, are decked head to toe in heirlooms, or have grabbed many levels in the dungeons or through PvP, Zygor has your back.
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