Priest Guide, an Overview

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. If you’d like to see what changed when Mists of Pandaria went live, then see our Priest in M of P post, which covers the new stuff that came with M of P.

Updated for Warlords of Draenor 6.2.2. 

Your Draenei Priest GuideThe Priest

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)

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Other Priest Guides

Your Night Elf Priest Guide, showing you the way


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

The changes for Mists of Pandaria are here.

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.

  • Hit and Expertise died in Warlords, along with any abilities and racials affecting Hit or Expertise.
  • Priests can use Daggers, Maces, Staves, and Wands.
  • Int is the #1 stat for all Priests, Spirit is #2, though S priests have much less use for it than the others.
  • Red Int gems (“Brilliant”) in all appropriate sockets, whether for PvE of PvP.
  • 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, 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 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. This guides sits in your in-game window and shows you exactly where to go and what to do, every step of the way, all the way. It’s just the thing if you’re brand new to the game and it’s also smart enough to deal with heirlooms, Recruit a Friend, and leveling from PvP or Dungeons. Get yours here.


Race Choices for Priests

Pandarens can be Priests, Orcs are the only race which cannot 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.

Best race?

  • 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.

  • 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. This will change slightly in patch 5.4, but will have much the same effect.
  • 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 range 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 three Stam gems.
  • Increased critical effect on your spells (not crit rating.)
  • Good with Herbalism

Troll – Good Priest choice, and the best tusks anywhere.

  • Berkerk is a very nice spell casting speed increase.
  • Greater XP gain when killing beasts is great for leveling, useless at max level.
  • Reduced duration of movement impairing effects has more PvP use than otherwise.

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 a passive effect that drains life and heals you for the same amount. It will add a bit to your damage totals.
  • Underwater breathing (indefinite duration) returned with WoD. Great for hiding out and admiring the underwater critters.



  • Increased Int is pretty nice for any Priest.
  • 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, various effects, and reduces damage by 10%
  • Might adds 2% to your critical damage/Heals (not crit rating.)
  • Good with Archeology


  • Increased Versatility.
  • 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.


  • Can escape from speed altering effects, which has PvP use and situational PvE use.
  • Increased mana pool helps, a bit.
  • Good with Engineering

Night Elf

  • 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 often.
  • +1% Crit by day changes to +1% Haste by night.


  • 1% crit bonus is nice for heals or damage.
  • Sprint-like ability has its uses.
  • Good with Skinning


Priest Abilities & Specializations

Undead Priest Guide Scoffs at the Alliance Guides (above.)
Undead Priest

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, 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 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.

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.

Basically, if you’re going to stick with either Holy of Disc., you should stick to dungeon and PvP leveling.


Priest Abilities

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.




Mind Flay – damages and slows 10 Rapture (P) No more cooldown on PW Shield. 10 Holy Word: Chastise – Your target has been naughty. 10
Devouring Plague – DOT and heals you. 21 Meditation (P) allows regen of some Mana while in combat. 10 Meditation (P) allows regen of some Mana while in combat. 10
Mind Blast – damages the target and generates and Orb. 21 Penance damages or heals the target. 10 Spiritual Healing (P) improves various healing spells. 10
Shadow Orbs (P) are used to empower other spells. 21 Spiritual Healing (P) improves various healing spells. 10 Holy Fire burns the enemy in Holy Fire for 9 sec. 18
Shadowform go all shadowy, providing better defense and more damage. 24 Borrowed Time gives 40% more Haste, for 6 sec, after casting PW Shield. 10 Purify dispels harmful effcts. 22
Mind Quickening increases the Haste and Multistrike chances of the entire raid. 26 Grace for 30% more healing and absorption. 10 Renew is a DOT heal. 26
Vampiric Touch – A DOT 28 Holy Fire burns the enemy in Holy Fire for 9 sec. 18 Focused Will (P) – taking damage increases your personal damage reduction. 30
Shadowy Apparitions (P) Apparitions appear and attack the target. 42 Holy Nova damages nearby enemies and/or heals nearby allies. 20 Spirit of Redemption (P) – Your death spirit heals people. 30
Shadow Word: Death – for targets at 20% or lower health. 46 Purify dispels harmful effcts. 22 Heal – Poof! You’re healed! 34
Mind Spike – blasts the target and clears your DOTs from that target. 44 Divine Aegis (P) allows critical heals to put a shield on the target. 24 Serendipity (P) – casting one type of heal improves others. 34
Silence – no more spells please. 52 Focused Will (P) – taking damage increases your personal damage reduction. 30 Lightwell – creates a lightwell that tries to heal a damages nearby party member. 36
Dispersion – nearly immune to all damage for 6 sec., but cannot attack. 60 Heal – Poof! You’re healed! 34 Prayer of Healing heals all party members within 30 yards. 46
Psychic Horror – Run away, darling. 74 Atonement (P) your damage heals a nearby ally. 38 Binding Heal heals the target and you. 48
Vampiric Embrace – your Shadow damage heals your buddies for a small amount. 78 Evangelism (P) improves your Archangel. 44 Circle of Healing heals up to 5 allies within 30 yards. 50
Mastery: Mental Anguish (P) Increases the damage of certain spells. 80 Prayer of Healing heals all party members within 30 yards. 46 Chakra: Chastise – more damage for your Holy and Shadow spells. 56
Mastermind = +5% more Haste. 90 Archangel consumes your Evangelism for more healing. 50 Chakra: Sanctuary – casting this reduces the cooldown of your Circle of Healing by 1 sec. 56
Silence – Oh shut up already. 52 Chakra: Serenity – any Renews on the target are refreshed. 56
Pain Suppression – protects the target. 58 Rapid Renewal (P) – improved Renew 64
Power Word: Barrier protects all targets within the barrier for 10 sec. 70 Guardian Spirit is a big holy thing that protects the target. 70
Mastery: Shield Discipline (P) for better shields and heals. 80 Divine Hymn heals all party members within 40 yards over 8 seconds. 78
Enlightenment – better chance for Prayer of Healing crits and 5% more Crit overall. 90 Mastery: Echo of Light (P) for more healing. 80
Divine Providence gives 5% more Multistrike and improve the effectiveness of your Multistrikes. 90
Perks are enhancements to some of your existing abilities, they’re not new abilities. Perks are learned, one at a time, at levels 92, 94, 96, and 98 and they’re learned randomly. At 98 you’ll have all four.
  1. Enhanced Mind Flay for faster Mind Flay damage.
  2. Enhanced Power Word: Shield for shorter Weakened Soul duration.
  3. Enhanced Shadow Orbs for a max of 5 orbs.
  4. Enhanced Shadow Word: Death now always generates and orb.
  1. Empowered Archangel improves your next Heal.
  2. Enhanced Focused Will for more damage.
  3. Enhanced Leap of Faith improves your next healing spell on that target.
  4. Enhanced Power Word: Shield for shorter Weakened Soul duration. 
  1. Enhanced Chakras for a faster cooldown.
  2. Enhanced Focused Will for more damage. 
  3. Enhanced Leap of Faith improves your next healing spell on that target. 
  4. Enhanced Renew for 3 seconds more duration.


Priest Stats

Generally speaking, for all Priests:

  • Int is your #1 stat, by far.
  • Spirit is very useful for mana regen for healers.
  • 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.
  • Multistrike gives you a chance for up to two (in PvE, one in PvP) additional strikes at 30% effect. Note that Holy’s Divine Providence improves the effect of those Multistrikes by another 20%.
  • Versatility increases damage and healing by an amount equal to its % value, and damage reduction by half that amount.

PvP Stats

  • Resilience is only for PvP and only appears on PvP gear that’s level 90 or lower, never on WoD gear. I reduces damage taken.
  • PvP Power is also only for PvP and only on gear level 90 and lower. Point for point Int is better, since PvP Power was nerfed in patch 5.3.

Priestly Gems


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.


Priestly Enchants

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 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
Enchant Chest – Mighty Spirit: +25 Spirit
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 Pearlescent Spellthread: +19 Int and +11 Spirit
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

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The Fast Priest Leveling Guide

Zygor's leveling guide showing the quest and who to look for
Zygor showing the quest and who to look for – Click here

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 (or read our review first) and blast to level the level cap quickly and painlessly.


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