- For a description of the role of priests within the lore of Warcraft, see Priest lore. For related articles, see Category:Priests.
"Priests are the masters of healing and preservation, restoring their wounded allies, shielding them in battle, and even resurrecting their fallen comrades. While they have a variety of protective and enhancement spells to bolster their allies, priests can also wreak terrible vengeance on their enemies, using the powers of shadow or holy light to destroy them. They are a diverse and powerful class, highly desirable in any group, 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, 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.
A quick summary of the main things a Priest brings to a group:
- Healing: Cast a large and versatile collection of healing spells (heal-over-time, low-threat heals, fast heals, strong heals, preemptive healing, etc.)
- Protecting a target with Power Word: Shield
- Increasing a player's stamina with the Fortitude buff (on individual players and full groups)
- Increasing resistance to shadow damage with a buff (individual and group versions)
- Increasing a player's spirit, increasing health and mana regeneration (talent-based buff)
- Controlling their own threat through talents
- Dispelling both negative spells on allies and positive spells on enemies
- Resurrecting other players (out of combat)
While Holy Priests are not as effective in damage output, they are argued to be one of the best healing classes in the game, however, this is still debated.
Their primary stats are Spirit for mana regeneration, Intellect for a large mana pool and crits, and Stamina for more hitpoints. Stats obtained from gear, such as Mana points/5 seconds and +damage/healing are also important.
Traditionally, the Shadow tree has provided a very good way to level the priest class, especially after level 40. Via talents and a targeted Spirit and Intellect build, Shadow Priests can have high, sustained DPS and incredibly high survivability with little downtime.
With the changes to the Shadow Tree in 2.0 Shadow Priests are now considered a much more viable class for end-game raiding, acting as mana batteries, for example, with Vampiric Touch and using their other spells to better the efficiency of the raid. Although Shadow Priests lack AoE and natural class abilities to retain mana, this can be alleviated with the use of consumables and the active use of Vampiric Touch.
Shadow Priests can:
- Spec for 25% threat reduction of their shadow spells
- Have a highly mana efficient spell in Mind Flay, increase warlock DPS through the use of shadow vulnerability, and provide good raid flexibility as a class capable of healing and DPS as the situation requires.
- Allow for up to a 45% increase in damage output, which is calculated after any and all bonuses from gear like all spell-casting classes. The only exception to this rule is healing spells.
The Priest class can be played by the following races:
Note that Priests get a couple of extra spells according to their race, see the racial spells section for further details.
Weapons and Armor
For endgame Healing Equipment go to BC healing equipment (cloth)
For endgame DPS Equipment go to BC Priest DPS Equipment
- Holy Magic
- Shadow Magic
- Further Buffs & Aggro control
- Limited crowd control
See the Priest Spells page for further details.
Priest Talents are split into 3 categories:
Shadow talents primarily enhance a priest's DPS. One of the most important shadow spells gained through Shadow tree talents is Mind Flay, a 3 second channeled spell that causes damage and slows the target to 50% of its movement speed. It has a low mana cost, making it one of the most mana-efficient spells in the game and is first available at level 20.
The Spirit Tap talent is generally the recipient of any priest's first talent point, as it doubles the priest's Spirit and allows 50% mana regeneration while casting for 15 seconds after killing a mob. Another important talent in the Shadow tree is Vampiric Embrace, available at level 30. This shadow spell casts a debuff on a target that heals all party members for 15-25% (depending on talents) of the shadow spell damage the priest deals to it for 60 seconds.
The Silence spell and its prerequisite, Improved Psychic Scream, are utility talents placed in the middle of the Shadow tree. Shadow Weaving can be useful in party and raid situations, as it causes a debuff that lasts 15 seconds, provides a 2% bonus to all shadow damage caused on the target (for example from Warlocks), and stacks up to 5 times. The debuff is applied every time the shadow priest successfully casts a shadow spell on a target, although it is subject to a separate resistance check.
Another vital talent of the Shadow tree is Shadowform, which when activated gives the priest a 15% shadow spell damage bonus and 15% reduction to physical damage taken but entirely prevents the priest from casting Holy spells. (As such, Vampiric Embrace is the only option besides consumables for a priest in shadowform to heal itself.) Some other useful talents in the Shadow tree can cause a 3 second stun on a successful shadow spell cast, reduce the threat caused by shadow spells, and increase the damage the target takes from all sources of Shadow damage.
The new ultimate Shadow talent, Vampiric Touch, causes a 15-second damage over time effect on the target and provides an amount of mana equal to 5% of all shadow damage dealt by the caster to all members of the caster's party while the DOT effect lasts.
One talent added by Burning Crusade is Misery. This talent causes an enemy to take X% more spell damage as long as certain shadow spells afflict it. You can put up to 5 points in Misery, adding up to 5% more spell damage. This is extremely useful in parties and raids as it causes the target to take more damage from all different types of spells, be it holy, shadow, fire, etc.
Discipline allows the priest to be stronger with buffs (such as Power Word: Shield and Fortitude and Inner Fire), more mana conserving, and still able to balance DPS and healing. At the end of this talent category is the spell Pain Suppression. Pain Suppression reduces damage taken from any source by 65% for 8 seconds, granting the Priest extra longevity should the enemy focus on them. Another powerful Discipline spell, Power Infusion grants the target an extra 20% damage and healing buff. Unlike Arcane Power in the Mage's list, this technique allows the priest to give the buff to someone else, and it doesn't have the drawback of consuming extra mana like Arcane Power. Regrettably, these two techniques do not stack. Also, added with the healing buff, a priest could use this in an intense battle to have higher healing ability. Combining this with a powerful spirit buff, the priest can go on for many battles without running out of mana, especially in instances where the priest heals. This is mainly an end-game category, and quite powerful leveling up as a priest can get an extra 5% spell critical chance as well as a permanent spell damage mod to offensive spells. There are very few priests that don't have a few points in Discipline.
The Holy tree increases a priest's healing ability while enhancing their survivability. The final ability is Circle of Healing, an instant heal that not only heals the target, but members of the target's party as well. Priests also have an "improved death", which allows them to become the Spirit of Redemption and heal party members for 15 seconds mana-free. This can easily save a group from being wiped out, and can keep them alive until the enemies are defeated or the priest is resurrected by a druid in battle. Holy priests are the most versatile healers in the game with a variety of tools to sustain their group.
There is some limited information on Priest Talents in Priest Spells.
The two race-specific spells that priests can learn are sometimes obtained by quests. In addition, there are several more priest-specific quests for items. See the Priest Quests page for an outline of these quests.
- Main article: Priest tactics
Priests are generally regarded as a tough class to play in PvP, but they are highly wanted in groups as the best healer in the game. They are very dependent on how their talent points are spent. A priest that spends most of his talent points in the shadow tree will be better off in PvP and solo PvE situations. The discipline and holy talent trees focus on making very strong healers, but they can still handle solo PvE situations.
Priest tactics generally involve conserving mana and using heals, shields, and buffs strategically. Some priests will often try to avoid all melee contact, although a Priest should periodically engage in melee combat to build up the Defense attribute. Using Power Word: Shield allows one to develop their Defense attribute without sustaining heavy damage.
A Priest should not always engage the Power Word: Shield spell, unless absolutely needed. Shield is very mana heavy, and mana saved can be used to fight more creatures before a break is needed for drink. Although, it could easily be argued that using a Power Word: Shield, while using a wand to recover mana over the course of battle, could easily save mana by not having to heal at the end of battle.
Though many priests found themselves originally pigeon-holed 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 DPS roles, depending on the priest's spec and the need of the raid. This flexibility is further aided by the increased debuff cap makes it easier to allow multiple shadow priests to contribute without being detrimental to a raid.
Healing priests are valued by many as profficient and skilled healers, capable of utilizing a variety of heals as well as a HoT and numerous buffs that benefit raiders, such as Fortitude, Shadow Protection, and Power Word: Shield. These buffs can be further improved by spending points in the Discipline tree for Improved Power Word: Fortitude, Improved Power Word: Shield, Divine Spirit, and Improved Divine Spirit. 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 neligible damage against one target. The use of the talent Lightwell can allow raiders to regain health with access, while Spirit of Redemption allows priests specced deep in the Holy tree to continue casting healing spells on a raid for fifteen seconds beyond death as no expense to mana.
The healing strength of the Holy tree, in conjunction with the benefits that can be found in the Disicpline tree, have created numerous end-game builds, ranging from a full 61-point Holy tree build to a number of hybrid builds that place points in the Discipline or Shadow trees in addition to the Holy tree. Examples of some priest builds can be found here.
Though still considered by many to be primarily a healing class, 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 raiders. For example, the Shadow Weaving talent, which increases all shadow damage to a target, is highly desired by Warlocks seeking to increase their damage. A Shadow Priest's Misery debuff will also further increase all spell damage to a target, an effect that stacks with Shadow Weaving. It should be noted, however, that a single shadow priest can easily keep both the Misery and Shadow Weaving debuffs active and additional effects from other shadow priests will not stack on the same target. The Vampiric Embrace talent is a powerful, group-wide heal over time that can aid in keeping the health of group members up; this can be especially helpful when grouped with a tank, warlocks who Life Tap frequently, as well as rogues and feral druids performing melee DPS. Furthermore, the newly gained Vampiric Touch benefits a caster or healer group by providing greater mana regeneration.
These debuffs are an addition to the base priest Fortitude, Shadow Protection, and Power Word: Shield buffs and can be improved by delving into the Discipline tree for Improved Power Word: Fortitude, Improved Power Word: Shield, Divine Spirit, and Improved Divine Spirit. 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 back-up healing if the situation warrants, though they typically suffer from the lack of points spent in the Holy tree for increased healing talents and reduced bonus healing as a result of being in a damage set at the time.
- Official WoW forums
- wow.telenet.be - Site directed specifically at Priests with talent specs, help on professions, calculation sheets and lots of other things.
- Priests Haven
- ShadowPriest.com - A forum-based community of endgame players.
- Priest Talent Guide - Helps new Priests choose their talents at levels 1 to 30.
- Spiritual Guidance - weekly priest feature at WoW Insider