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 Priest guide only covers patch notes applicable to Priests. You can find all of the patch notes on WoW’s official pages.
Blizzards thinking on Shadowlands Priest changes.
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 other 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 stat 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.
Allied races all start at level 20 and will require a few things in order to be able to play one. Generally: you will have to earn an exalted rep with them, perhaps doing a few daily or world quests and otherwise being useful, and then do a questline starting from the Stormwind or Orgrimmar Embassy.
Pandaren – faster leveling, stun, food buffs.
- Can choose to join either the Horde or the Alliance upon earning the right to leave their starting area.
- Melee range stun has definite uses, even for priests, as it allows an escape from melee.
- Inner Peace: Rested XP lasts longer for faster leveling.
- Epicurean provides increased benefits from food buffs, which is generally a very nice ability.
- Being “Bouncy” means you take less falling damage; this helps if you’re into cliff jumping.
- Their Gourmand ability provides a +15 cooking bonus.
Horde Priest Races
Troll – Nice burst ability, faster leveling from beast XP.
Goblin – Gotta deal for you on clean holy symbols!
- Goblins can Rocket Launch forward or away. which has its uses.
- Their Rocket Launcher will be of little use to you,
- as will Vendor Discounts (lower prices) and your
- Personal Bank, though both are nice for other reasons.
- Haste adds 1% to your Haste, a good stat for Priests.
- Goblins are good with Alchemy (Chemistry)
Blood Elf – removes buffs
- Your Arcane Torrent removes one beneficial effect from any nearby enemies (8 yards) and restores some or your resource (Energy, Mana, Rage, etc.)
- Acuity adds +1% to your Crit rating, which is a good stat for D. Priests.
- Belves are good with Enchanting, via their affinity.
- Belves take slightly less Arcane damage, via their Resistance.
Tauren – for the stomp and more health
- War Stomp: Stuns up to 5 enemies within 8 yds for 2 sec.
- Brawn: Critical strike bonus damage and healing increased by 2%. This is not crit rating, just extra damage.
- Endurance: Increases your Stamina (scales with level).
- Nature Resistance: Reduces Nature damage taken by 1%.
- Cultivation: Herbalism skill increased by 15 and you gather herbs faster than other herbalists.
Undead – wash off Fear, etc., and eat your kills.
- Your Will of the Forsaken removes fear, sleep, and charms. Definitely useful in PvP and of occasional use elsewhere. It also allows indefinite underwater breathing.
- Your Touch of the Grave is a passive ability that will add a small amount to your overall damage and self-healing.
- Cannibalize 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 what you kill. Humanoids only. Restores 35% of total health over 10 seconds.
- Minor Resistance (here) to Shadow damage.
Mag’har Orc – Starts at level 20. Stat boost CD and reduced duration of effects.
- 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 Blood : Since you are extremely healthy you get reduced duration of curses, poisons, and diseases (by 10%.)
Nightbourne– Starts at level 20. Damage and slow nearby anemies
- You can do an Arcane Pulse , which damages all nearby enemies and reduces their speed for 12 seconds. Note that this will break most “crowd control” effects you might have on those enemies. 3 minute cooldown.
- Can read your mail from anywhere, with your Cantrips ability. Get a note while you’re in the middle of nowhere? No problem.
- Your love of lore and Ancient History give you +15 to your Inscription skill.
- Your Arcane Resistance allows you to take 1% less damage from Arcane energy and you also have a Magical Affinity which allows you to do 1% more magical damage.
Vulpera – Starts at level 20. Tricks
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. You can rummage your bag to change tricks. Your bag can eventually have a few additional Tricks:
- 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 and due to your being wary around fire, your Fire Resistance reduces fire damage taken by 1%.
- Your Alpaca Saddlebags increase the total size of your backpack by 8 slots.
Zandalari Troll– Starts at level 20. Pick your Loa.
- Your Embrace of the Loa ability allows you to choose which Loa you are associated with. Has a 5 day cooldown. Each embrace also lasts through death.
- Embrace of Akunda – Your healing abilities have a chance to heal their target for some extra points. Good for anyone with a ranged heal.
- 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 for tanks and damage dealers.
- 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. This is your default Loa.
- 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’.
- Your also have your City of Gold ability, making you the envy of Goblins, since it lets you loot an extra 2% gold from your targets.
- Your Embrace of the Loa ability allows you to choose which Loa you are associated with. Has a 5 day cooldown. Each embrace also lasts through death.
Alliance Priest Races
Winners of all the body-building contests. More Int.
- You have extra Intellect from your Heroic Presence. It scales up as you level.
- The Gift of the Naaru (a Heal Over Time effect, 20% heal over 5 seconds) acts as a secondary bandage every 3 minutes and, like a bandage, it can also heal an ally.
- Draenei are good at gemcutting and love their bonus to their Jewelcrafting skill.
- Your Every Man for Himself ability removes all stun effects (no other effects are removed,) so is something like a partial PvP trinket. This effect shares a 90 sec cooldown with other similar effects.
- The Human Diplomacy skill will allow for more rapid faction gain (very nice if you’re working towards any of the zillion faction in WoW)
- Bonus Versatility adds +1% to your Versatility
- Shadowmeld requires you to stay still. It drops aggro and can be used in combat. If you time ‘meld “just so” you can break incoming spells. Requires a high level of skill to use that way.
- Quickness makes you slightly harder to hit and slightly increases your run speed.
- Quickness: Get back to your body faster.
- Resistance for 1% less Nature damage.
- Touch of Elune: Increases your Haste by 1% during the night. Increases your Critical Strike by 1% during the day. Quickness also makes you 2% faster.
Size is not a hindrance to Priestlyness. Escape, more Mana, tiny bit more Haste.
- Escape artist is very nice for PvP, as is their small size, and they get an increased mana pool.
- More – +5% more mana, which isn’t really a concern for you.
- Nimble – +1% more Haste, which is a decent stat.
- Resistance – Gnomes take a bit less arcane damage
- Engineer – Gnomes are good with Engineering.
Stone form is esp. nice for PvP Healing
- Stone Form is a nice PvP talent, and occasionally useful elsewhere. It washes away bleeds, various magical effects, and adds a 10% damage reduction for a few seconds.
- Might adds 2% to your critical damage (not crit rating.)
- Resistance allows a small reduction to incoming Frost damage.
- Explorer – Dwarves are good with Archeology.
Lightforged Draenei– Starts at level 20.
A nice attack
- Your passion for killing demons ( Demonbane ) is reflected in your earning an extra 20% experience from that action. Obviously not much use once your are at max level.
- You have two area effect attacks, Light’s Judgment and Light’s Reckoning . The former lets you call down a 9+++-strike onto enemies close to you, with a three second delay, and a 3 min CD. 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.
- Naturally you are a bit more resistant to holy damage than others, taking 1% less damage from the stuff with your Holy Resistance .
Dark Iron Dwarf – Starts at level 20.
Pretty nice Int boost.
- Your Fireblood removes all poison, disease, curse, magic, and bleed effects, just like your Dwarven “brethren,” but your ability increases your primary stat (Intelligence, scales with level) +more 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 Machine : While out doors you can summon a Mole Machine that tunnels through the earth and can pop you up in a variety of places.
- Being tough you have your Forged in Flames ability, and take a bit less physical damage.
- Having spent your life working in the forges you have a Mass Production skill , giving you +5 to your blacksmithing skill and letting you work 25% faster.
Mechagnome– Starts at level 20.
- Hyper Organic Light Originator summons a couple of images of you to distract your foes. Added damage 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 at your current level x 5, so at level 100 you can unlock chests that require 500 skill.
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 seconds and knocks them back substantially. 2.5 minute cooldown. Knock ’em back then blast away.
- Brush It Off – Increases Versatility by 1%. When you take damage you sometimes heal for 2% of that damage 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
- Many generations of seafaring experience have earned you the Rime of the Ancient Mariner ability, and so you take 1% less from Frost and Nature damage.
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 void 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. Practice this to get a good idea of how it works.
Priest Abilities & Specializations
Again, this Priest guide is an overview. Here’s a capsule guide to the three specs, but follow the links for a lot more info.
Priests, like all classes, possess three unique specializations (specs) holding numerous spells designed to support and aid in all pursuits, whether they be damage, healing, or simply survival.
In essence by choosing one spec 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 spec you’ll invest your efforts 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 spec 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 higher levels.
Basically, if you’re going to stick with either Holy of Disc., you should stick to dungeon and PvP leveling.
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.
- Where once there were specific PvP stats, Resilience and PvP Power, now there are none.
Gemming in BFA is different than in other expansions. For one, gems are few and far between and only appear on dropped gear, not on vendored gear.
Generally you can only place one Int gem, no matter how many sockets you have. All the rest will be for other stats. If you have a socket then just drop in the gem with your best stat. \
Int and Haste, right? Yep.
In BFA you can only enchant your rings, and weapon(s.) Most of your other gear can be enchanted at lower levels.
All of the higher level enchants can be added to your level 1 gear. Deck yourself out in full heirlooms and enchant them. The Shoulder and Legs will require a higher level character (85+ in BFA) to install them, but after that your level 1 can use that gear with those enchants.
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 your 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. And yes, Zygor is Shadowlands ready.
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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.