This Priest guide is a general overview of the World of Warcraft Priest. For far more detail on the individual specializations (specs) see the links just below.
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)
Other Priest Guides
Patch Notes for Priests
This Pries guide only covers patch notes applicable to Priests. You can find all of the patch notes on WoW’s official pages.
A preview of Priests in the Legion expansion, on the BattleNet blog.
WoD brought a lot of changes, from removed abilities to new talents and perks, and much more. Go here for more: Warlords of Draenor Priest changes
All of the official patch notes can be found here.
Quick Guide to All Priests
This is a general Priest guide, but all priests are pretty close in what they need. Unlike, say, Druids. 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
- PvP Power and Resilience are useful stats for PvP Priests, but only appear on gear that’s level 90 and lower. It’s been removed on Warlords gear.
- Haste is a generally good secondary stat for all Priests.
- Enchants should be Int, Spellpower, 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 Versatility gain and PvP trinket escape
- Gnomes for size, escape, and mana pool.
- Trolls for Berserking and Da Voodoo Shuffle.
- Goblins for escape (Rocket Jump) and Haste.
- Pandaren if you like to eat
Leveling your Priest? It used to be that Shadow was the only way to go (for leveling) and the leveling process before getting Shadowform was… painfully slow. Now it’s easy to mow down the opposition, plus we have the Dungeon-finder tool and PvP leveling.
If you don’t care for the pace, frustrations, and occasional jerks in PvP or the dungeons then Questing is the way to go and it’s soooo much faster than it used to be (And can be just about as fast as Dungeoning.) Here’s our favorite guide to get you to the level cap ASAP.
Race Choices for Priests
In Battle for Azeroth the Orcs and the High Mountain Tauren are the only races which cannot be priests. Oddly Enough, the Tauren and the Mag’har Orcs CAN be Priests.
Channeling the Night Elf Priest Guide, above, “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, anyway.
- Horde: Troll (Berserking, VooDoo Shuffle), Uneaded (PvP – remove effects)
- Alliance: Human (Versatility, Escape, Rep gains)
Pandarens get to choose, once they leave the starting area, whether they will join Horde or Alliance.
- Your Inner Peace gives you improved Rest XP, making for faster leveling.
- Being bouncy you take less falling damage, which can be useful.
- With a quick strike of you Quaking Palm you can stun an opponent for 4 seconds.
- Pandarens get better buffs from food with the Epic ability
- Naturally you’re good with cooking.
Blood Elf – Best hair, no useful Priest abilities.
- Your Arcane Torrent removes one beneficial effect from any nearby enemies (8 yards) and restores Mana. 2 minute cooldown.
- And your Arcane Acuity gives you a bit more crit (1%.)
- Naturally your Arcane Affinity gives you +10% to the Enchanting skill.
Goblin – Holy relics for sale! What? Of course they’re genuine! You calling me a con gob, bud?
- Can rocket jump forward, or away, so is a bit like the hunter ability disengage.
- Speaking of rockets… Rocket Barrage!!! The perfect Goblin ability. Can launch rockets at enemies. Damage is trivial, but you can probably find a use for it.
- A bit more Haste.
- Check your bank stash from anywhere. Truly a deadly ability. 😉
Tauren – You have no interesting Priest specific abilities, you only look like a teddy bear, and you’re the butt of cow jokes.
- Your mighty Endurance gives you a 5% increase to base health, which is pretty nice.
- Also useful is War Stomp, an often useful ability, that gives you a crucial short range AoE stun. Nice when the melee comes to you.
- 2% Added Crit damage (not crit chance.)
- Tauren are good with Herbalism
Troll – Good Priest choice, and the best tusks anywhere.
- Berserking increases your Haste by 15% – Pretty nice for Priests.
- You get a 20% XP increase when Beast slaying. This only applies to beasts, not humanoids or other non-beasts. You’ll be chopping up lots of beasts while leveling, so this is a nice bonus.
- Do Voodoo Shuffle gives you a nice 20% reduced duration of movement impairing effects, such as snares, slows, etc. Not stuns or anything else.
- Regeneration, Mon! Trolls regenerate 10% faster than others and can even regenerate a bit in combat, not that you are likely to notice.
Zandalari Troll – Starts at level 20.
- Your Embrace of the Loa ability allows you to choose which Loa you are associated with. Has a 5 day cooldown.
- Embrace of Akunda – Your healing abilities have a chance for the occasional small boost.
- Embrace of Bwonsamdi – Your damaging abilities have a chance to deal Shadow damage and heal you for 100% of the damage done. Pretty good general ability.
- Embrace of Gonk – Increase movement speed by 5%.
- Embrace of Kimbul – Your damaging abilities have a chance to cause the target to bleed over 6s. This effect stacks up to 3 times. More damage is always good.
- Embrace of Krag’wa – Taking damage has a chance to grant you additional Health and 66 Armor. Good tanking ability.
- Embrace of Pa’ku – Your abilities have a chance to grant you +4% critical strike for 12 seconds. Live by the crit? This is for you.
- Regeneratin’ – Regenerate 100% of your maximum health over 6 sec, interrupted by damage. 2.5 min cooldown.
- Pterrordax Swoop – Slows your fall for two minutes. Time for some serious cliff jumpin’.
Undead – “And you are…?”
- Your Will of the Forsaken removes fear, sleep, and charms. Definitely useful in PvP and of occasional use elsewhere.
- Your Touch of the Grave is a passive ability that will add a small amount to your overall damage and self-healing. It also allows indefinite underwater breathing.
- Cannibalism is a nice “in your face” ability for PvP and eliminates the need to use a bag slot for regular food (you’ll want to keep any foods that provide buffs.) Just go full zombie mode and eat whatever humanoids you kill.
Mag’har Orc – Starts at level 20.
- Your Ancestral Call will boost a random secondary stat (crit, haste, versatility) for 12 seconds on a 2 minute cooldown. The boost scales with level.
- Your love of the open skies increases your mounted speed by 10% and your…
- Savage health, you barbarian you, reduces the duration of curses, poisons, and diseases by 10%.
- If you could have a pet it would have a 10% health boost.
Nightbourne – Starts at level 20.
- You can do an Arcane Pulse, which slightly damages all nearby enemies and reduces their speed for 12 seconds. Note that this will break any Sap or Blind you might have on those enemies. 3 minute cooldown.
- Can read your mail from anywhere, with your Cantrips ability.
- Your love of Ancient History give you +15% to your Inscription skill.
Vulpera – Starts at level 20.
- Bag of Tricks: Cunning thing that you are you can use a trick on an enemy to damage them or on an ally to heal them.
- Make Camp: Set your camp location outdoors and then you can use Return to Camp, which teleports back to your camp location. Basically another hearthstone.
- Nose for Trouble: Take a little less damage from the first strike inflicted by an enemy.
- Your Alpaca Saddlebags increase the total size of your backpack by 8 slots.
Draenei – Winners of the interplaner bodybuilding contests. All of them.
- The Gift of the Naru (a Heal Over Time for 20% of your health) acts as a secondary bandage every 3 minutes and, like a bandage, it can also heal an ally. Just an extra for you.
- You have the extra Intelligence, from Heroic Presence, and it scales up as you level.
- Your skill at gemcutting gives you +10% to your Jewelcrafting skill.
Lightforged Draenei – Starts at level 20.
- Your passion for killing demons (demonbane) is reflected in your earning an extra 20% experience from that action.
- You have two area effect attacks, Light’s Judgement and Light’s Reckoning. The former lets you call down a strike onto enemies close to you, with a three second delay. Reckoning causes you to unleash the Light upon dying, damaging enemies within 8 yards and healing any allies for the same amount.
- Not only do you get +10% to your Blacksmithing skill, you can summon a Forge of Light.
Dwarf – No “short jokes” please.
- You can become one with the stone via your Stoneform, which removes bleeds, various effects, and reduces damage by 10%
- Might adds 2% to your critical damage/Heals (not crit rating.)
- Good with Archeology.
Dark Iron Dwarf – Starts at level 20.
- Your Fireblood removes all poison, disease, curse, magic, and bleed effects, just like your Dwarven “brethren,” but your ability increases your primary stat (Intelligence) by 600(!) (scales with level) +200 for for each additional effect removed. Lasts 8 sec. with a 2 min cooldown.
- You’re a tunnel dweller and Dungeon Delver and you’ve learned how to move 4% faster while indoors, plus your people have the Mole Machines: While outdoors you can summon a Mole Machine that tunnels through the earth and can pop you up in a variety of places.
- The Human Spirit: You gain 2% more of all secondary stats (Haste, Critical Strike, Mastery, Versatility) from all sources.
- And since you are skilled at Diplomacy you have a faster rep gain with everyone than does any other race.
- Your Every Man for Himself ability removes all stun effects (no other effects are removed,) so is something like a PvP trinket. This effect shares a 90 sec cooldown with other similar effects.
Kul Tiran – Starts at level 20.
- Wind up, then unleash your mighty Haymaker upon your foe. Doesn’t hurt much, but does stun then for 3 sec and knocks them back substantially. 2.5 minute cooldown.
- Brush It Off – Increases Versatility by 1%. When you take damage, heal for 2% of that amount over 4 sec.
- Your Child of the Sea ability lets you swim a bit faster and hold your breath longer than anyone who is not Undead.
- You are a Jack of All Trades which increases all of your Tradeskills by 5. Unfortunately it does not give you free tradeskills, just a boost to the ones you actually learn
- Your Escape Artist ability allows you to break the effects of any immobilization or movement speed reduction effect.
- Plus, being so Nimble you have +1% Haste.
- Expansive Mind: Maximum Rage increased by 5%.
- Being good with Engineering gives you +15% to that skill.
Mechagnome – Starts at level 20.
- Hyper Organic Light Originator summons a couple of images of you to distract your foes. Added DPS or use it to give yourself a moment to set something up. See it in action here.
- And you get some Racial Passives:
- Combat Analysis: You gather and analyze combat data every 5 sec, increasing your Intelligence by 25, stacking up to 10 times. The data decays while out of combat.
- Mastercraft: You function as a personal Blacksmithing Anvil, Cooking Fire, and Mining Forge. In addition, your limbs include every profession tool.
- Emergency Failsafe: When you fall below 20% health, heal for 15% of your maximum health. This effect cannot occur more than once every 2.5 min.
- Skeleton Pinkie: Allows opening of locked chests and doors on a level similar to yours.
- Your Shadowmeld lets you slip into the shadows, reducing the chance for enemies to detect your presence. Lasts until cancelled or upon moving. Any threat is restored versus enemies still in combat upon cancellation of this effect.
- A bit more Dodge and movement speed (2% of each,) via your quickness.
- Touch of Elune gives you a bit more Crit by day and Haste by night.
- Transform into a Wisp Spirit upon death, increasing speed by 75%. Hopefully you will only rarely have any use for this trait.
Void Elf – Starts at level 20.
- Your abilities have a chance to empower you with the essence of the Void, Entropic Embrace, which increases your damage by 5% for 12 sec. It has a 33% proc chance with 60 seconds internal cooldown. Nothing like a bit of Void energy added to your attacks, right?
- Spatial Rift: Tear a rift in space. Reactivate this ability to teleport through the rift. 30 yd range. 3 min cooldown. You can activate this, then change direction, hit it again, and be back to the original spot.
Example: Mobs chasing you? Fire it to one side of a rock/pillar/hill and run to the other side. When you hit it, you will portal through the rock and the mobs will have to run the long way round. The rift can’t go through solid objects but you certainly can. Even on flat ground, if you run at right angles to the line of fire, you can portal a fair distance. Put it up at the edge of a cliff and jump off, then port back. Experiment with it.
- Your Altered Form allows you to switch between your human and Worgen forms and your Two Forms lets you turn into your currently inactive form. Then your Darkflight activates your true form, increasing current movement speed by an additional 40% for 10 sec. Always nice to have extra movement.
- You also have your Running Wild ability, where you drop to all fours to run as fast as a wild animal.
- Flayer increases your Skinning skill by 15 and allows you to skin faster.
- And your innate Viciousness increases critical strike chance by 1%.
Priest Abilities & Specializations
Again, this Priest guide is an overview. Here’s a capsule guide to the three specs, bgut follow the links for a lot mroe info.
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, 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 Priest’s 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.
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, 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.
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.
Basically, if you’re going to stick with either Holy of Disc., you should stick to dungeon and PvP leveling.
Previously all Priests shared a pool of abilities and the talents defined the individual specializations (specs.) In Mists of Pandaria each spec will share a pool of common abilities as before, then they will each have their own set of unique talents. You will pick each of these up from your trainer at the appropriate level.
These are the abilities that define you as Shadow, Disipline, or Holy.
(P) = Passive ability, DOT = Damage over Time effect.
Generally speaking, for all Priests:
- Int is your #1 stat, by far.
- 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.
- The Value of Mastery varies with your spec
- 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.
- Versatility increases damage and healing by an amount equal to its % value, and damage reduction by half that amount.
- Resilience is only for PvP and only appears on PvP gear that’s level 90 or lower, never on WoD or later gear. It reduces damage taken.
- PvP Power is also only for PvP and only on gear level 90 and lower. Point for point Int is better.
Gemming in Warlords of Draenor is different than in other expansions. For one, gems are few and far between and only appear on dropped gear, or gear won from tokens, not on vendored gear.
Gems also only code for secondary stats, not Int. If you have a socket then just drop in the gem with your best stat. IN 6.2.2 the best gems are “immaculate” (stat) Taledites. For example: Immaculate Haste Taladite for +75 Haste. They’re a bit expensive, but you’re worth it, right?
If your gear is under item level 600 and you have sockets then just drop in the best Int gem you can find, into all sockets. Ignore colors, socket bonuses, etc. Just use the Int gems.
In Warlords none of the earlier enchants can be applied to gear over item level 600, but the new Warlords enchants can be applied to lower level gear, just as with the other enchants.
All of the Warlords enchants, as with the gems, only code for the secondary stats (Haste, etc.,) no primary stats are available. Also you can only enchant your neck item, cloak, rings, and weapon(s.) Nothing else.
Below item level 600 you can enchant it all, plus your neck and rings with the WoD enchants.
Helm enchants went away in Mists of Pandaria, shoulder enchants all come from the Inscription profession. As with gems, your Mysticism adds to any Int enchants.
Professions no longer have specific enchants, with the exception of those shoulder enchants above.
There are no PvP specific enchants for Warlords or later gear.
|Warlords of Draenor Enchantments|
Main & Off-Hand
Mists, only for items at ilevel 600 or less:
|Enchants for item levels below 600.|
|Shoulders||Greater Crane Wing Inscription: +15 Int and 5 Crit|
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: +9 to all Stats|
|Bracers||Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect: +15 Int
Enchant Bracer – Mastery: +25 Mastery
|Gloves||Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery: +25 Mastery|
|Belt||Livingsteel Belt Buckle: Gem slot for a nice Int gem|
|Leggings||Greater Cerulean Spellthread: +19 Int and +11 Crit|
|Boots||Enchant Boots – Greater Precison: +12 Crit rating
Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step: +10 Mastery, slight run speed increase.
Enchant Boots – Greater Haste: +12 Haste
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.
Grab yourself a copy of Zygor’s Leveling guide and blast to level the level cap quickly and painlessly.
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Other Priest Guides
- Priest Leveling guide – learn how to maximize your Priest’s leveling experience.
- Discipline Priest PvE Guide – Raid Healing with your D. Priest. And if you’d rather kill off those foolish enough to choose the wrong faction, we have Discipline PvP
- Shadow Priest DPS Guide – How to maximize your raid DPS as Shadow. Or you can melt the brains off other players: Shadowpriest PvP
- Holy Priest Raid Guide – Raid healing with your Holy Priest.