Tag Archives: raiding

Good Game

1 Oct

I had always imagined that the first time that I cried around my boyfriend would be because of a particularly sad scene in a movie that we were watching or maybe because of a truly heartwarming gift that he would buy me for my birthday or for Christmas.

I never dreamt that the first time that I cried around my boyfriend would be because of World of Warcraft.

It happened last night, after I called to rant about how much I was frustrated with the leveling process, how I felt like my guild had backpedaled on their initial expectations on when they wanted us to be raid ready, how I hated the prospect of having to do a seemingly overwhelming amount of dailies to get ahead, how I felt like leveling had turned into a competition to see who could hit level 90 in the most unhealthy way possible, and how I felt like Blizzard was being hypocritical by saying that they wanted to make raiding more accessible to people, while still creating even more hoops for people to jump through in order to prove just that.

Once I got all of that out of my system, I grew quiet and stared up at the ceiling.  He waited patiently on the other end of the phone, thinking that I still had more to say.  My eyes began to dart around the room, making sure that I didn’t focus on one spot for too long, because I knew what would happen if I did.  I could feel my chin quivering and the emotional dam inside my head starting to break.  Don’t cry. Don’t cry.

“I don’t love raiding anymore,” I said through tears.

I know it sounds silly to cry over a computer game and I told the boyfriend as much.  But raiding is something that I have truly loved to do for a long time.  I have compared my relationship to World of Warcraft and more specifically raiding to being in a relationship with an actual person and having to say that I no longer loved the one thing that keeps me going and the one thing that keeps me playing hurt about as much as realizing that the person you have spent years of your life with you no longer love anymore. 

If I loved raiding, I would gladly take time off of work to be raid ready.  If I loved to raid, I wouldn’t mind using my last vacation day of the year to spend it leveling and doing dailies.  I wouldn’t mind losing sleep, or temporarily putting off plans, because I would be doing those things for something that I love to do.  But I don’t love the idea of it anymore, so those things are turning into an imposition and they are turning into things that I’m starting to resent having to do.

I think another reason that I broke down at the fact that I didn’t enjoy raiding anymore is because for a long time I have felt like raiding was the one thing that I was good at.  Especially now, since I came back to Magic.  I’m not that good at Magic yet.  When I don’t do well at a Magic tournament, I can at least walk away from it knowing that I’m a Savior of Azeroth or that my guild finished in the top 300 of the United States, or that I am a competent priest that people turn to for advice.  If I didn’t have my raiding anymore, then I would have nothing to console myself with.  I would be just another player who performed poorly at a Magic event.  I would have nothing that I could turn to and say “Well, I’m not very good at this, but at least I am good at this.”

At least that’s what I thought, anyway.  As I dried my tears, the Boyfriend began reminding me about all the things that I am good at and that I could be good at anything I put my mind to.  I could turn all of the passion that I had for World of Warcraft and for raiding and put it towards something else and most likely see the same results.  He told me how smart I am and how I don’t need raiding to feel good about myself or to feel competent and that if he thought that I was that type of person, he never would have started dating me to begin with. 

That made me feel a little bit better.  I know he’s right, too.  So with that said, I think I’m going to tell my guild that I’m not going to raid anymore and take the demotion down to the social rank in the guild, provided they let me stick around at all.  And if they don’t, I am sure I can find someone on Twitter or in the community with a guild that will take me in as a casual member.  I can see myself doing some PVP in the future or maybe a fun raid with friends who just need a warm body to fill a spot.  But I think it is safe to say that my time as a serious, progression minded raider is over. 

It’s funny.  I had a conversation with a couple of people on Twitter yesterday about a custom in Magic the Gathering where your opponent tries to shake your hand after the round is over and says “Good game.”  I had mentioned how I felt that the practice was sort of condescending, mostly because it always seems like the winner is the person who puts out their hand first and that of course they are going to think it was a good game because they won. 

Then a friend pointed out to me that “Good game” is not to be taken literally and that often times the person feels that you genuinely put up a good fight or played well and that it deserves to be said and complimented on.   I didn’t even think of it that way. 

So in the future, when I think back on my time spent raiding and that I walked away from it all, I won’t be afraid to pat myself on the back and say “Good game.”

And it was.

Time’s Up

22 Aug

I had originally intended to make what I’m about to say in this post a topic for conversation on the next episode of my new podcast, but I felt like it might feel better to get these words and thoughts out of my head and on to paper – or the closest thing to paper that I have, which is my blog.  I feel like getting things off your chest feels differently, depending on the method in which you choose to do it. 

Lately I have been feeling very overwhelmed.  It started right around the time that the release date for Mists of Pandaria was confirmed.  The officers of my guild had decided that they would like us, the raiders to be 90 ideally within a week, but for sure within two weeks of release.  This coincides with the pre-release weekend for Return to Ravnica, a highly anticipated expansion of Magic the Gathering that I and many others are very excited about.  Since I have come back to the game, I have made it to the last two pre-release weekends without fail.  I had every intention of making this one, too, but with the race to hit level 90, I realized I may not be able to make it.  This really bothered me.

Then my boyfriend and I decided to reconcile and start down the path of giving our relationship another shot.  He lives in Chicago.  One of the issues that came up during our initial break up was the fact that we weren’t spending enough time together.  Back then we were seeing each other every other weekend, sometimes every third weekend, mostly due to his work schedule.  When we agreed to give things another try, it came up in conversation that we may have to try stepping things up to every weekend or three weekends out of the month.  This was something I was fine with at the time, but when combined with everything else that I have going on started to make me feel like I was suffocating. 

So, let’s see.  Three days a week raiding, plus Fridays for Friday Night Magic, plus my blog, plus my podcast, plus being a guest host on other people’s podcasts, plus finding time to socialize with my friends and to see my family, plus work 40+ hours a week, and have weekends to spend traveling for the occasional Magic tournament or other type of event, and manage to maintain a healthy relationship with my boyfriend.  How am I supposed to juggle all of this?

Even the first two weeks of Mists seem incredibly daunting to me.  The expansion comes out on September 25th, which is a Tuesday.  I’m not going to burn a vacation day on launch day, for various reasons.  I decided to take the one vacation day that I had available and use it on that Friday, instead.  So starting on Tuesday, I will be coming home from work around 4:30, eating dinner, leveling from about 6pm to 11pm, going to bed, and then doing the same thing on Wednesday and Thursday.  Friday through Sunday would be spent primarily leveling, most likely missing the Return to Ravnica pre-release, and then doing the same 6pm to 11pm grind every day the week after until I’m level 90.  Then comes the grind for gear and rep, so that I can be raid ready.  I’m exhausted just typing this.

Let’s say that I eliminate World of Warcraft from the equation.  Admittedly, this clears up a lot of my week.  Let’s say that I play only Magic and podcast, while blogging occasionally.  I’m already only playing Magic one day a week right now and that’s on Fridays.  Every weekend that I spend with the boyfriend rules Friday Night Magic completely out.  Typically I take the Amtrak to Chicago on Friday afternoons after work and I get down there around 7:30pm.  Most Friday Night Magic events start well before then.  I could start playing Magic Online and play during the week, but I’m leery about having to build an online card collection, in addition to an actual one.  I also worry that playing Magic Online will simply become a substitute for World of Warcraft and I’ll find myself tethered to the computer again during the week.  It would be like substituting one addiction or vice for another. 

Then there is the issue of traveling.  One of the things that excited me the most about getting back into Magic again was the opportunity to play in more large scale events across the country.  I had originally intended to stick to states that were nearby, like Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, etc.  But I have been very fortunate to meet people in states that are a bit farther away from me that I could go visit and even crash with, too.  I could visit Seattle if I wanted to, or Los Angeles, or even New York.  The possibilities are endless.  I can’t do those things if I have a boyfriend, or a boyfriend that my weekends are pretty much devoted to.  Most of the Magic events I’m interested in take place on the weekends.  How would I manage that?

I’m pretty sure this would be an issue, even if my boyfriend didn’t live an hour or so away from me.  Even if I met a guy locally, what guy is going to be okay with a girlfriend who is essentially booked a minimum of three days out of the week (for a computer game, no less) and possibly an additional day or even a weekend (for a card game), and who spends most of her free time working on a blog and a podcast about said games, even when she isn’t playing them?  Having all of this going on doesn’t necessarily make me serious girlfriend material.  It all leads back to the inevitable feeling that I have that something has to go.

I talked about this a little bit with the boyfriend last night and he didn’t have too much to say about it.  He is someone who was a hardcore gamer for a long time and made the switch to being extremely casual, to the point where he now only plays a handful of X-Box games and board games with friends from time to time.  That was something he was glad to do.  He was happy to give up the schedules and the responsibilities and to make other things in his life a priority.  I’m not so sure that I’m at that point yet.  I like my life the way that it is.  I also like being able to do things to the level of satisfaction that I want to do them.  I don’t want to do eight different things, just to say that I’m doing them.  I want to do them and feel like I’m doing them well.  I don’t feel like I can do that right now.  Something is going to suffer.  Something would have to suffer.

I really don’t know what to do.  I don’t know how I can pull all of this off.  I like where I’m at and I feel like I worked hard to get here.  It would be one thing if I weren’t enjoying something anymore and I chose to walk away from it because I hated it.  It would be one thing if something was being taken from me against my will, like Blizzard was no longer making expansions or Wizards stopped making Magic cards.  I have so many things that I love to do and so many people that I love spending time with and seemingly not enough time to spend on everything.  That doesn’t sit right with me.  It feels like a cop out to say that’s why I would be giving up something.

It’s just like Moroes says, “Time… Never enough time.”

Thursday Thoughts

7 Jun

Over the last few weeks I have really struggled with coming up with cohesive, relevant blogs that I can publish.  For the first time ever I have more than one draft sitting in my Drafts folder and I regularly add more, only to delete them a short time later.  I haven’t encountered a feeling of writer’s block this strong in quite a while and it only makes me feel worse when I see how other bloggers are constantly posting and how they seem to have no such shortage of things to write about.

To be honest, it makes me feel jaded.  Washed up.  I see myself losing Followers because I’m not talking about things that people initially followed me to hear me talk about.  I see myself not being able to relate to conversations that other people are having, because I either don’t agree with them and can’t find a way to word it eloquently enough or because I do agree with them and they have already worded things better than I ever could.  I just feel like I’m watching people, like I’m watching the community pass me by.  I’m suddenly overcome with ennui and I don’t know what to do about it.

Instead of talking about what I haven’t been able to do or haven’t been doing lately, let’s talk about what I have been up to.

World of Warcraft

I haven’t raided in two weeks.  Last week I posted out because I had just broken up with my boyfriend and I was really in no mood to raid or do anything that felt competitive or like I would have to really push myself to do.  This week I had the chance to go out and do something to take my mind off said breakup and so I took the opportunity to do that and volunteered to sit on the bench for the night.

I don’t miss it.  Let me be more specific – I don’t miss Dragon Soul.  I’m excited about raid testing being made available in the Beta.  I’m excited at the thought of grinding the 5 man dungeons to gear up for new raid content in Mists of Pandaria and then doing said content.

The Beta, as it stands right now, doesn’t have much appeal to me, either.  I have no desire to level a toon from 85-90 and then have to do it all over again when the expansion hits.  I would much rather wait until the premade characters are made available and then go from there.  That’s really where things in the Beta will start getting interesting to me.

Diablo 3

I have an Annual Pass, so I didn’t actually have to “pay” for or go seriously out of my way to get my hands on a copy of Diablo 3.  It’s fun.  I haven’t played it as much as most people have.  My witch doctor hasn’t even cracked level 20 yet and I’m not in much of a hurry to change that.

I enjoy the slow pace.  I enjoy exploring every nook and cranny of the map and breaking every barrel, urn, and spider egg that I see.  I don’t feel like there is a clock ticking that tells me I have to be this level or I have to be this geared in order to do this instance within this timeframe.  It’s nice to just say to myself “I want to kill shit,” and then I log on and do it.  It’s very simple and very mindless, which I really appreciate at this point in time.

Magic the Gathering

I have been playing quite a bit of Magic the Gathering lately and it has brought me the most enjoyment these past few weeks.  I find Magic to be very refreshing and so different from World of Warcraft in many ways.  Here are just some of those reasons:

The community.  Since I started playing Magic again, I have been trying to get a feel for what websites are the best resources for me to go to and which forums seem to have the most decent people posting on them.  I have started to Follow certain writers that I enjoy reading the most on Twitter, striking up conversations with them when I can.  I’m slowly trying to get involved in a community that is unlike what I’m used to and it’s intimidating and yet strangely exciting, at the same time.

One thing that really stands out to me about the Magic community is the sense of meritocracy or the feeling that people who are seen as authorities or who are the most respected have genuinely done something to deserve that.  Something that has really frustrated me about the WoW community lately has been the recent surge in people who have obtained this bizarre form of celebrity for seemingly doing nothing at all.

They don’t play the game.  They don’t raid.  But yet they’re in a position where people look to them to tell them what to do or for advice.  They exist solely for entertainment value and while I can see the immediate benefits of such a thing, it still feels sort of wrong to me.  I don’t think it’s too much to ask that someone actually plays the game that they write or podcast about.  I don’t think it’s wrong to ask someone to share their level of experience with you when they try to give you advice on how to do something.

This doesn’t seem to be the case in the Magic community.  The people who are writing for these websites and that you see out and about can genuinely prove that they have been there, that they are successful, and that they have a reason to be doing what they are doing.  They are there to entertain you, but that comes second to the fact that they have some amount of credibility going for them and I really respect that and I miss that.

The social interactions.  I knew that I was starting to experience some burnout once we had downed Heroic Madness for the first time.  I knew that I wanted to take a break from WoW before Mists of Pandaria came out, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do with all that free time.  The possibilities were endless.  I could go back to Rift.  I could try out Star Wars or TERA.  I could throw myself into Diablo 3.

But then I realized that I really missed social interaction with people and I mean face to face conversations.  I started to feel like everything I was doing involved hiding behind a computer screen and like I was becoming very isolated and possibly even socially awkward because of it.  It seemed really obvious to me, maybe even too obvious to choose another computer game to keep me occupied until the next expansion comes out.  That’s when I decided to start playing Magic more and to relish those moments when I’m not tied to a headset or to a keyboard and mouse.

To my surprise, I had become really awkward around groups of people.  I found that I had a hard time remembering the names of the people I had started to play with regularly at my local Friday Night Magic events.  I noticed that I had a hard time looking people in the eye when I was talking to them.  I had to remind myself that I don’t have a push to talk key in real life and that I have to keep some things to myself if I don’t want someone across the table from me to hear them.

I’m getting better at communicating and I’m still not perfect.  I do still rage when people stand over my shoulder and make comments about the game I’m playing or someone plays a card over and over again that I don’t like.  I have to get better at being a good sport, for both when I win and for win I lose.  I need to be able to say that I did a good job, even when I don’t feel like I did or when I feel like I could have done better.  Coming back to Magic has helped me identify all of these things (and more) about myself that I don’t think I would have done if I had just moved on to yet another computer game to pass the time.  I’m really grateful for that.

The freedom.  I don’t feel like I’m bound to a set schedule with Magic, the way that I am with WoW.  It’s not the end of the world if I don’t make it to Friday Night Magic, or if I have to leave early.  I can go to a tournament at this store on Tuesday, or that store on Thursday, or do both tournaments and even a third on Sunday.

I find being able to say what I want to do and what I don’t want to do, without any negative repercussions very exciting.  I don’t feel like I’m letting anyone down if I don’t make it to an event or like I am lagging behind, like I would if I missed a raid.  I don’t feel like I’m doing the same thing over and over again, like when you farm the same instance for several months at a time.  It all feels fresh and new and dare I say it – like a game *should* feel.  It kind of makes me wonder why I have been settling for something else this whole time.

Reading

I got used to bringing a book with me when I used to ride the Amtrak to go visit my boyfriend (now ex-boyfriend).  One of the books that I had picked up was the first book in the “Pretty Little Liars” series.  Needless to say I was hooked.  I’m currently on the third book and I just started watching the television show that goes along with it.  It’s been much easier to avoid spoilers of the books than it has been the television show, but it seems like the show is radically different from the books, so it’s not really hurting anything.

Like I said, I’m hooked.  I squeal like a teenage girl when the cute boy takes his shirt off or he says something close to romantic.  I gasp when something sort of scary happens.  I panic when one episode ends and I have to get up to turn the next one on from my computer.   Completely hooked.

I know this post kind of went all over the place, but I’m okay with that.  Life is good – even if it’s not giving me a lot of things to write about.  I still felt like I should say *something,* so hopefully I’ve accomplished that today.

Thanks for stopping by!

Short and Sweet

6 May

On Tuesday, my guild successfully downed the Heroic Madness of Deathwing encounter on 25m and thus wrapped up our time raiding in this expansion.  We spent Thursday night in Heroic Firelands and cleared up to Heroic Ragnaros, but decided that we didn’t want to spend all of tonight wiping on that (which we probably would end up doing because that encounter is still really tough), so we decided to take tonight off.  Next week will be spent getting people their achievements for the Glory of the Dragon Soul Raider achievement and then we are officially done until Mists of Pandaria comes out.

This is the first time that I have ever killed every boss in the current expansion before the next one comes out.  I was just shy of an Illidan kill in Burning Crusade.  I was a resto druid warming the bench on Heroic Lich King (because resto druids weren’t considered to be very helpful on the 25m mode of that one).  And don’t even ask me what the final boss technically was in Vanilla, because I don’t know and frankly can’t remember.  Suffice it to say my time spent raiding in Vanilla was mostly a blur and full of plenty of noob moments that I can’t help but look back on and laugh out loud at.

It’s such a weird feeling knowing that next week is my last week spent raiding seriously in Cataclysm.  I don’t know what to do with myself after that.  I’m so used to raiding and logging in solely to raid that those three days are going to feel sort of empty without having raiding to rely on.  Some part of me really wants to pack those three days with other things to do, like PVP, or more Magic the Gathering, and the other part of me really wants to enjoy having nothing to do those nights and getting a good night’s sleep or just doing something simple like reading a book.

Other than the Heroic Madness kill, not too much is going on in my neck of the woods.  The latest expansion in Magic the Gathering came out on Friday, so this weekend and the weekend before were filled with pre-release and release day events.  I got to try out some new formats and see some of the people that I usually play in Friday Night Magic with in a different light.  It’s nice to see people who come to Friday Night Magic with the most minimaxed deck possible trying to create something out of a couple of packs of cards.  I think it puts everyone on more even of an even playing field and it’s fun to see what people come up with for themselves.

I am still in the Mists of Pandaria Beta and I will also have Diablo 3 when it comes out.  I have never played a Diablo game before, so I’m curious to give it a try and see what all the fuss is about.  Diablo seems to have some pretty die-hard fans and I respect any game that can keep people interested and happy during long periods of time between releases like that and any game that has been around that long and helped pave the way for many games after it.  I’m not really going into it with any expectations.  I just want to poke around and see if it’s something I could get into or get the hang of.

Last but not least, I am participating in something called the Newbie Blogger Initiative that was started by the creator of a blog called Bio Break.  This is something that will be happening throughout the month of May and is meant to give new bloggers some motivation to start blogging or to welcome back retired bloggers who are thinking of getting back into the scene again.  I signed up as something called a Sponsor and I will be throwing up a post next week with some tips that I have for up and coming bloggers.  I really wanted to do this because I definitely feel that I have taken a more unconventional approach to doing things, which has worked for me, and I would like to offer up some different perspective, other than what most people would suggest you do if you want to be a successful blogger.

Leave a comment and let me know what you have been up to, or if you have anything to share or add about the end of raiding in Cataclysm, Diablo 3, the Newbie Blogging Initiative, or anything else that I have mentioned in this post.  Let me know what’s on your mind!

Planning Stages

15 Mar

I have been doing quite a bit of planning lately for two different endeavors that I would really like to see get off the ground.  Unfortunately, I can’t make them happen all by myself, so this is where you all come in.

First, I would like to try setting up a 10m run that is interested in going back to the Tier 11 and possibly even Tier 12 hard modes to down Sinestra and then Ragnaros.  Sinestra is firmly at the top of my Bucket List of things to do before Mists of Pandaria comes out and I know there are other people who feel the same as I do about that. 

I tried setting up a run on the Twitterland Raiding site and didn’t get many responses – not because of lack of interest or anything, but mostly because of scheduling.  So if anyone is interested, and has a character on the Horde side that would like to participate, please leave me a comment, or reach out to me in some other way to let me know what toon you would like to bring and what days or times work best for you.

I would strongly prefer to take mains, as some of these hard modes are still nothing to sneeze at, but I would settle for a suitably geared alt that someone can play well, too. 

Second, I have decided that I want to attend GenCon in Indianapolis, in lieu of BlizzCon being cancelled this year.  Unfortunately, going alone would dramatically increase my expenses, so I’m looking for someone else (or mulitple someones) who may be interested in going and sharing a hotel room with me for the trip.  Or if someone happens to live in the area and wants to put me up for the duration of the convention, that could be a possibility, too. 

Even though the convention isn’t until August, I would like to get things fleshed out as soon as possible, as the cost of buying a badge for the convention goes up after June, and I would like to get a hotel room while they are still available.

If you think you can help with either of these things, please let me know.  Otherwise, have a great Thursday and thanks for stopping by!

 

The 4 Most Common Holy Priest Mistakes

15 Feb

Whenever I write a post about being a healing priest, or more specifically a holy priest, I try really hard not to tell people what to do.  I try not to make it seem as if there is only one right way to do things.  Most of the advice that I give is meant to be taken as a suggestion or as something that I know has worked for me and that could possibly work for you.  I have always been someone who is not afraid to try something new or break the mold when I can and I have always been really fortunate to be in guilds with great leadership that are as open minded as I am.

With that said, there are times where I see a holy priest doing something that goes so far against the grain that even I have to strain to see why such a decision or course of action would make sense.  Of course, I try to see where they might be coming from.  But more often than not I just can’t wrap my head around why a holy priest would do certain things.  Inspired by the recent trend of posts on WoWInsider that highlight common mistakes made amongst the various classes and specs of World of Warcraft, here are my selections for the most common mistakes that I see among holy priests.

 

They don’t take Heavenly Voice.
It is not completely unrealistic to say that holy priests have waited this entire expansion for a talent like Heavenly Voice.  I don’t think that we really noticed just how lackluster Divine Hymn was when compared to other cooldowns until Firelands came out.  Then we really started to feel it.  It’s not that holy priests were nerfed – it was more that we were not built to react to the encounters the same way that a discipline priest could or that our playstyle just didn’t mesh well with certain mechanics.  We watched our representation in raids fall to very depressing numbers and I was one of many holy priests who wondered if this trend would continue well into Dragon Soul or even beyond.

Then word got out that the developers were going to replace a completely useless talent, State of Mind, with one called Heavenly Voice and that this new talent would serve to compliment Divine Hymn and help make it a much more viable raid cooldown than it had been in the past.  Our proverbial prayers had been answered.  Priests from here to Kalimdor were pulling out their talent calculators and trying to figure out which talents they were going to take points from in order to make sure they had enough to max out on Heavenly Voice.  It was pretty unanimous that Heavenly Voice was going to be something that any holy priest worth their salt was not going to want to miss out on.

Unfortunately, there are still a number of holy priests out there who have not caught on to just how incredible Heavenly Voice is.  Now I know that in my recently released 4.3 guide that I indicated it was acceptable to not max out on Heavenly Voice if you had just turned 85 or were spending most of your time healing nothing but 5 man dungeons.  This is still true.  However, once you reach the point where you are ready to raid (even if it’s just LFR) you should most certainly have two points in Heavenly Voice.  If I inspect a fellow priest and I see that they are very clearly doing some sort of raid activity and they don’t have points in Heavenly Voice I really question how effective they are being in a raid setting.  Please do not make the same mistake and miss out on this amazing talent.

 

They spec for shields.
While Power Word: Shield is a spell that both holy and discipline priests have available to them, it’s a pretty well known fact that a discipline priest will get far more out of placing a shield on someone than we will.  I rarely cast it on a tank and I can’t even remember the last time I cast it on someone when I was raid healing (unless I wanted to give them a speed boost with Body and Soul).  We don’t cast Power Word: Shield for the same reason that discipline priests don’t cast Renew – because they don’t get as much out of it as the priest with the opposite spec would and they have other tools that can do the job better.  This is how it is and how it will most likely continue to be.

So I find it very strange when I see holy priests with talent points in things like Improved Power Word: Shield or Soul Warding and I see them using Glyph of Power Word: Shield.  If your chances of beating a certain encounter hinge upon you being proficient with shields, you’re not going to do this as well as you could be if you were discipline.  Even for fights where Body and Soul makes a noticeable difference (e.g. Atramedes or Warmaster Blackhorn), you’re not using the shield for the absorption effect.  You’re using it for the burst of speed to help you or someone else get out of something bad.  That doesn’t require any enhancements to your shields that could come from talent points or a glyph.  In short, it doesn’t make any sense to divert so much of your resources towards something that someone else could do with noticeably less effort.

 

They have excessive amounts of Spirit.
Healers of all stripes went into Cataclysm knowing that we weren’t going to be able to enjoy the infinite mana pools that we had come to know and love from the days of Wrath of the Lich King.  It was almost a necessity when we were leveling up and gearing up for that first initial bout of Heroics to enchant for Spirit and gem for it, etc.  Some people took really well to the idea of “triage healing” and having to put more thought into the spells that you cast and others really struggled with it.  Eventually we reached a point where we could afford to do without all of that regen and we could sacrifice some of that Spirit for throughput.  Then Firelands happened.

The pieces that many priests would have used until they had enough Valor Points to start purchasing their tier 12 armor or until they were lucky enough to win the tokens came with a noticeable loss of Spirit or sometimes no Spirit whatsoever.  This was very shocking to many priests, who basically felt like they had the rug pulled out from under them.  Many of us felt like we were getting mixed messages about just how important Spirit was supposed to be to us.  We went from needing it, to not needing it – but still having it around and on our gear just in case.  Now it was noticeably missing from several pieces of equipment and priests tended to react in one of two ways.  They either adapted and found better ways to manage their mana and to make the most out of their cooldowns or they overcompensated and started making Spirit more of a priority than it should have been.

The number one complaint that I hear from people who decide to level a holy priest is how much they feel like they are running out of mana so much faster than other healers do.  It’s tempting to try and fix this by pouring on the Spirit, thanks to talents like Meditation and Holy Concentration that have made us unusually dependent on it (or more so than other healers are).  But there is such a thing as too much Spirit.  It may not even have anything to do with your attributes.  You could be having to work harder because someone else on your healing roster isn’t bringing their A game every night or you may have people in the raid who aren’t reacting to environmental damage like they need to and so you’re having to heal more to keep up.  Adding more Spirit to the mix is not always the answer.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a set amount of Spirit that I can tell you to shoot for or that I can say is too much.  It really has to be something that you get a feel for and that you just know when you have reached that point.  I always compare it to those classic spy movies where someone is trying to come up with the combination to the safe by putting their ear up to the door while turning the dial.  They turn it ever so slowly and keep their ears open for that very subtle click that will let them know when they have found the right number or numbers to crack open the safe.  That’s what you need to do.  Watch closely how your mana bar goes up and down during an encounter and how your cooldowns and the cooldowns from others affect it.  Look at how much mana you have left over when the fight ends.  Eventually you will tap into that sixth sense of just knowing where your regen is at and whether or not you could stand to have more or less of it.

 

They don’t commit to using Lightwell.
Whether we like it or not, Lightwell has become one of the defining spells for a holy priest, if not the most defining spell for us.  It used to be Circle of Healing, then Guardian Spirit was our trademark for a while, and now it’s Lightwell.  Never has a spell been so misunderstood as Lightwell has.

The problem with Lightwell is that it is not only as good as the people who have to actively make the choice to click it, but it is also only as good as the priest who is responsible for dropping it.  I have come across very few people in my travels who actively dislike Lightwell or who try to go out of their way to not use it.  Most people would love to use it, if it was dropped anywhere remotely near them, or if they knew that you were dropping it in the first place.  This is where you come in.

The first thing I can suggest, with regards to how to get the most use out of your Lightwell is to know the fight ahead of time.  There are some fights where it will pay to drop a Lightwell at the start of the pull or slightly before it and then there are fights where you may not want to drop it until the middle or even close to the end of the encounter.  Knowing when your Lightwell will get used the most or when it will be most in demand is very important.  The people that you raid with have to feel a pressing need to click on it and if there isn’t enough damage going out to put them in danger they are not going to use it.

Second, you need to think about where you are going to drop it.  While you can click the Lightwell from a good bit of distance away, that doesn’t mean that you should drop it at the farthest point of the room.  You also don’t want to drop it on top of the raid, where it may be hard to target the Lightwell and click on it with a bunch of bodies and other graphics in the way.  If you notice that people aren’t using it, feel free to ask them where they would like it dropped or where it would be easier for them to use it. Try to meet them halfway on this one.

Like any cooldown, it helps if people know that you are using it.  I use a now out of date addon called Raeli’s Spell Announcer to let the raid know that I have dropped a Lightwell, but there are several other addons that do the same thing, or you can even make a simple macro that will do the trick.  Be careful not to make your announcement too obnoxious or people will equate your Lightwell with that and they may not click on it, simply just to spite you.

An acceptable Lightwell announcement would be:

 

“A wild [Lightwell] appears.”

 

An unacceptable one would be:

 

“This is George.  He is my Lightwell.  George is currently holding 15 charges of holy healing goodness for you and will be eagerly awaiting for you to use him for another 2 minutes and 41 seconds.”

 

You also want to make sure that you are not keeping track of who is using the Lightwell openly in raid.  There are some addons that will tell you how many charges are left, who is using them, etc.  It’s fine if you want to keep track of this information for yourself, but do not broadcast this in party or raid chat.  Remember, you have to make people associate the Lightwell with something positive and overbearing raid announcements will not help your cause any.

Along with creating a macro or using an addon to let people know that you have cast Lightwell, it helps to say in Vent or Mumble (or whichever program that you use) that you are doing this and where you have placed it.  For example, I may say “Lightwell on the left,” or “Lightwell in the back.”  Again, keep it short and sweet.

If at the end of the day you have truly done everything you can to train your raid how to use the Lightwell and they are still not meeting you halfway on this, then you can feel free to /spit on them and tell us how terrible they are in Trade chat or on the PlusHeal boards.  We’ll understand.

 

Oestrus’ Comprehensive Holy Priest Guide – Version 4.3

27 Jan

Welcome to my comprehensive holy priest guide for patch 4.3.  All of the information contained within this post is current, as of the most recent tier of content, which includes the recently released Dragon Soul instance.

Please keep in mind that anything I talk about here or that I suggest are things that have worked for me or other priests that I communicate with and that they may not necessarily work for you.  What matters more than anything else is being able to admit that something is not working for you.  If you are doing something that is a bit outside the box and you are genuinely seeing results with it – meaning that your mana bar is not always running on empty, you are keeping up the people you are assigned to heal, etc. then by all means keep doing what you are doing.

But if you are stalling on progression fights, you cannot keep people alive like you should be able to, and you never seem to have enough mana to make it through the most basic encounters, you may want to accept that what you are doing is not working and that it may be time for you to try something else.  Do not be afraid to have that conversation with yourself or with others.  You cannot fix something if you will not admit that the problem is even happening in the first place.

With that in mind, let’s get started!

Table of Contents:

I. STATS
II. STAT PRIORITIES
III. REFORGING
IV. HEALING SPELLS
V. BUFFS
VI. OTHER ABILITIES
VII. CHAKRA
VIII. TALENTS
IX. MASTERY
X. HOW TO TANK HEAL
XI. HOW TO RAID HEAL
XII. GLYPHS
XIII. ENCHANTS
XIV. GEMS
XV. CONSUMABLES

I. STATS

Intellect

  • Increases your Spell Power by 1.
  • Increases your spell Critical Strike chance by .001541.
  • Increases your mana pool by 15.

Note: The first 18 Intellect will not increase the size of your mana pool and the first 10 Intellect will not grant you any Spell Power.

Spirit

Haste

  • 128.06 Haste is equal to 1% at level 85.
  • With enough Haste, you can reduce the cast time of your spells, the time in between ticks of channeled spells, and make some of your HoTs tick faster (which can lead to extra ticks).

Mastery

  • 179.28 Mastery is equal to 1% at level 85.
  • Echo of Light: Direct heals that you cast on someone will heal them for an additional 16% over 6 seconds. Each additional point of Mastery that you have will increase the size of this heal by an extra 1.25%. This HoT will tick 6 times, or once per second, and is not affected by your Critical Strike or Haste rating.

Critical Strike

  • 179.28 Critical Strike is equal to 1% at level 85.
  • As of patch 4.2., critical heals now heal for 200% of their normal amount, up from 150%.

II. STAT PRIORITIES

The stat priorities that I would suggest you use can be quite different, depending on at where you are at as a holy priest. If you are someone who has just turned 85 or who hasn’t been 85 for that long, I would suggest the following priority:

Intellect > Spirit > Spell Power > Haste (to 12.50%) > Mastery > Critical Strike

As you start to run the high end Normal dungeons and break into Heroics, it’s going to be very important for you to manage your mana pool properly. Especially if you plan on gearing up through the Dungeon Finder. Make sure that you have Spirit on every piece of gear possible. If it doesn’t have Spirit on it, reforge into it. Even though most of the Heroic 5 mans have been nerfed, you may not be able to count on that to see you through.

At the very least, you want to make sure that you are at the first Haste breakpoint, which is at 12.50%. This will give you an extra tick from Renew and Divine Hymn. You will not have enough Haste on your gear to even come close to reducing your Heal, Greater Heal, or Prayer of Healing down to a 2 second cast, much less aim for the second Haste breakpoint of 37.50%. Because of this, I would suggest taking any excess Haste you have past the first breakpoint and converting it into Mastery or gear for Mastery once you reach that point.

The other reason I suggest not going for Haste as you are just starting out as is because Haste is considered to be a “negative regen” stat, meaning that it helps you cast spells faster, which usually leads to casting more, and that leads to spending more mana. As you are in the process of gearing up and getting more experience on your priest, mana is going to be a limited resource for you. You are going to need to get the hang of “triage healing,” which is where you heal people for only as much as they need and not just to top them off. With triage healing, you may have to get more comfortable seeing your tank at 90% or lower and the DPS may sit at 75% or even 50% while you are learning the ropes of being a holy priest and how to spend your mana wisely. As you can see, stacking Haste and triage healing do not go hand in hand.

The only reason Critical Strike would be important to you is for Inspiration and you should have enough Critical Strike on your gear already or through Intellect where you do not need to go out of your way to gear for it. In fact, Critical Strike rating is usually the first secondary stat that you will reforge into something else, if you have the choice. We will talk more about reforging a bit later in this post.

If you are raiding at the current level of progression or just slightly behind it, meaning you are raiding Firelands or Dragon Soul, your stat priority should look a little something like this:

Intellect < Spirit < Spell Power < Haste  < Mastery < Critical Strike

At first glance, it looks like your priority may be the same as a holy priest who is just starting out, but there are a few changes. Even though you can do without the excessive amounts of Spirit that a novice priest might need to get by, I still suggest that you take gear with Spirit on it over pieces that do not. Spirit makes a great secondary stat that you can reforge into another stat that you might need, without having to give up other stats that are useful to you on an existing piece of gear. With that said, the Spirit that you have now should already be on your gear. You should not be reforging into Spirit, enchanting for it, or anything else like that.

The second Haste breakpoint of 37.50% is still going to be just out of your reach, although certain procs from weapons or trinkets can certainly help you get there. However, you should be able to obtain enough Haste, through your gear, reforging, etc. where you can reduce the cast time of your Heal, Greater Heal, and Prayer of Healing spells down to at least 2 seconds. As you will probably spend most of your time as a holy priest healing the raid, having a much faster Prayer of Healing at your disposal can make a huge difference in your throughput and reaction time to incoming damage. You can expect to reach this point once you have about 19% Haste, fully buffed. You will probably need to gem for Haste, enchant for it, and put points into Darkness to get here, but it is well worth it.

After that I would recommend prioritizing Mastery next. One could argue that by gearing for Critical Strike over Mastery that your spells will heal for more, which in turn will leave a more powerful HoT on a target from Echo of Light. However, Critical Strike rating is not a consistent throughput stat. You could just as easily gear for Mastery, which means that your HoT will always heal for a set percentage of the original heal, rather than relying on Critical Strike to possibly make it heal for more.

III. REFORGING

If an item has Spirit and Haste on it:

  • reforge the Haste into Mastery, if you are just starting out.
  • reforge the Spirit into Mastery, if you are not.

If an item has Spirit and Mastery on it:

  • reforge the Mastery into Haste, if you are looking to go past the first Haste breakpoint.
  • reforge nothing, if you are not.

If an item has Spirit and Critical Strike on it:

  • reforge the Critical Strike into Haste or Mastery, depending on your preference.

If an item has Haste and Critical Strike on it:

  • reforge the Critical Strike into Spirit, if you need the regen.
  • reforge the Critical Strike into Mastery, if you do not.

If an item has Haste and Mastery on it:

  • reforge either of the stats into Spirit, if you need the regen.
  • reforge nothing if you do not.

If an item has Mastery and Critical Strike:

  • reforge the Critical Strike into Spirit, if you need the regen.
  • reforge the Critical Strike into Haste, if you do not.

IV. HEALING SPELLS

Holy priests have a large arsenal of spells from which to choose from. It is important to know which spell is the right one to use for any given situation.

Power Word: Shield

  • Instant cast spell, which surrounds the ally and absorbs damage.
  • Does not actually provide any healing, unless you glyph for it.
  • This spell is typically not used by holy priests, unless they are trying to grant someone the speed boost that goes along with Body and Soul.

Binding Heal

  • A 1.5 second cast spell, which heals yourself and the target of your heal.
  • Generates a low amount of threat.
  • This spell will leave a HoT from Echo of Light on each person healed.
  • If you have Renew on yourself and someone else, and you use Binding Heal while in Chakra: Serenity, it will refresh the duration of the Renew on both characters.
  • This spell is twice as likely to trigger a proc from Surge of Light than other spells included in this talent. You can read more about this here.
  • Can be expensive if used repeatedly and should be used wisely.

Circle of Healing

  • An instant cast spell which heals the 5 most injured players or pets around the target.
  • You can heal up to 6 people with this spell, if you glyph for it, but this comes with an increased mana cost.
  • Should not be used too often in 5 mans, unless you need to heal on the run.
  • This is a core spell for a raid healing holy priest and is frequently used on cooldown.

Desperate Prayer

  • An instant cast self heal, which costs no mana and comes with a 2 minute cooldown.
  • Should be used in emergency situations where you need a fast, efficient heal.
  • The healing provided by this is affected by Echo of Light.

Divine Hymn

  • A channeled spell that heals the 5 party or raid members with the lowest health within 40 yards every 2 seconds for 8 seconds and increases the healing done to them by 10% for 8 seconds.
  • Divine Hymn determines who the most damaged party or raid members are prior to each tick going out and then heals them. This means that the same 5 people may not receive all of the healing from Divine Hymn, as each heal will always go to the raid member who is most in need of healing.
  • Normally caps at 20 heals, but this can be increased to 25 heals by reaching the first Haste breakpoint of 12.50% Haste.
  • This spell should only be used in situations where the group or raid is taking heavy amounts of damage that you feel you may not be able to react to in any other way. It also works well when used with other people’s cooldowns, as it will increase all of the healing done to those healed by Divine Hymn, in addition to the healing provided by Divine Hymn.

Flash Heal

  • A 1.5 second cast direct healing spell which is meant to be used as a fast, emergency heal.
  • Can be expensive and should not be spammed.
  • Use immediately after Holy Word: Serenity for a quick way to get someone back up to full health.

Greater Heal

  • A 3 second cast spell which provides a large amount of healing to a single target.
  • Greater Heal is best used in conjunction with Serendipity, due to how expensive it is and how long it takes to cast.
  • Can be used by itself, but should only be used in emergency situations. It is not meant to be a spell that you spam, or cast repeatedly.

Heal

  • A 3 second cast spell which provides a modest amount of healing to a single target.
  • This spell is very mana efficient and is best used during periods of moderate and predictable damage.
  • Heal may not provide enough healing to top someone off after a large damage spike. Use Flash Heal or Greater Heal, instead.

Lightwell

  • A unique type of heal that creates an object which people can click on to receive a short burst of periodic healing.
  • Lightwell lasts for 3 minutes and typically comes with 10 charges, or you can glyph for it and have it come with 15. Each charge gives an ally the Lightwell Renew effect, which heals them for a certain amount over 6 seconds, or three ticks of healing total.
  • If a person using the Lightwell takes damage equal to 30% of their health, it will cancel the Lightwell Renew effect.
  • The healing provided by Lightwell is not passive. A player must actively mouse over the Lightwell and click on it in order to begin receiving healing from it.
  • The healing provided by Lightwell Renew does not trigger Echo of Light and is not affected by your Critical Strike rating.
  • With enough Haste rating, it is possible to get a fourth tick out of a charge from Lightwell. Raid buffs, such as Moonkin Aura, Wrath of Air Totem, or Mind Quickening, and talents like Darkness will not have any effect on this, as they increase your Haste and not your Haste rating. This is widely considered to be a bug that has not yet been addressed by the developers. Because it is unclear how much actual Haste you need to reach this point (my research has shown anywhere between 1700 – 3600 Haste does the trick) it is not something you should go out of your way to achieve. However, if you are already gearing for Haste, it may be possible to reach this point, with the help of trinkets or weapons that come with sizable Haste procs (like Seal of the Seven Signs or Ti’tahk, Steps of Time).
  • Lightwell lasts for 3 minutes, until all of the charges are consumed, or until you move too far from away it and it despawns.

Prayer of Healing

  • A 2.5 second cast heal, which heals the friendly target and their party members who are within range of them.
  • It has a healing radius of 30 yards, but has a cast range of 40 yards. This means that the person you want to target with Prayer of Healing must be within 40 yards of you and that the people in their party need to be within 30 yards of them to receive the healing from this spell.
  • Glyph of Prayer Healing enhances the throughput from this spell, by healing all affected targets for an additional 20% of the initial heal over 6 seconds.
  • This spell is best used in situations where at least 3 people in a party require healing. Circle of Healing should be used first, followed by Prayer of Healing, when in a raid setting. In a 5 man dungeon, Prayer of Healing should be used over Circle of Healing, unless you have to heal the party while moving.

Prayer of Mending

  • An instant cast spell, which puts a reactive buff on the target that heals them when they take any damage and then moves or bounces to another party or raid member within 20 yards.
  • Comes with a maximum of 5 charges, which are not consumed by environmental damage (i.e. falling or fatigue) or spells that reduce the caster’s hit points (like Life Tap). However, spells which cause damage to the caster, like Hellfire or Shadow Word: Death will cause Prayer of Mending to jump to someone else.
  • The heal from Prayer of Mending can crit and is affected by Echo of Light.
  • Tanks make the best targets for Prayer of Mending, as they are the ones who are most likely to take damage and to keep the buff active. It is best used at the start of a pull, but Prayer of Mending does not stack, and so it is possible to cancel out a Prayer of Mending already on the target with one that is recently cast. This can cause some strife between the healing priests in your raid, if you run with more than one, so be sure to coordinate this type of thing with them, or simply wait until theirs has been consumed before you cast yours.
  • Any threat that is generated by Prayer of Mending is considered to be generated by the healing priest, not by the recipient of the heal.
  • Prayer of Mending should be used on cooldown, whenever possible.

Renew

  • A HoT spell, which provides a set amount of healing over 12 seconds.
  • Renew normally provides one tick of healing every three seconds, to give a total of four ticks. With 12.50% Haste, you can receive a fifth tick of healing from Renew and a sixth tick at the next Haste breakpoint, which is at 37.50%.
  • The ticks of healing from Renew will not trigger Echo of Light, but the direct healing component of Divine Touch will. Heals provided by Renew also have a chance to crit.
  • Renew should be kept on the tank at all times, either by re-applying it or refreshing it with the use of direct heals while in Chakra: Serenity.
  • This spell is best used as a spot heal, for situations where there may not be enough people taking damage to warrant the use of Circle of Healing or Prayer of Healing. It is not meant to be used on a large number of people, like holy priests used to do in previous expansions.

V. BUFFS

There are a number of buffs available to priests that you may want to make sure are cast on people either prior to the pull or immediately upon resurrection.

Fear Ward

  • An instant cast spell which makes the target immune to a single Fear effect.
  • This effect lasts for 3 minutes and Fear Ward comes with a 3 minute cooldown.
  • The buff is consumed, even if the target is already immune to fear (like through Berserker Rage).
  • Can be used prior to a pull that you know is going to lead to a target being feared or immediately before a spell is cast which will lead to that outcome.

Inner Fire/Inner Will

  • Free, instant cast self buffs.
  • Only one may remain active at a time and you should always have one on you at all times.
  • Inner Will is primarily for priests who are just starting out and who may not have the mana efficiency required for Inner Fire just yet. Once you feel that you have a handle on your mana pool, Inner Fire is going to be the buff of choice.
  • It is possible to “dance” between buffs, as needed. For example, if you need a movement speed increase, you can swap from Inner Fire to Inner Will and then revert back once you do not need that advantage anymore. Or you can go from Inner Fire to Inner Will if you are running low on mana and feel that the buff could help your mana conservation.

Levitate

  • A utility based spell that allows the target to levitate, reducing the speed of falling and allowing them to walk on water, or other liquid surfaces.
  • Levitate cannot be cast on targets who are mounted and any damage received will break the effect.
  • Can only be cast on people in your raid group or party.
  • Normally requires a reagent to cast, but Glyph of Levitate removes the need for this.
  • While it does not have many practical purposes in a PVE environment, Levitate can be used to avoid the Quake ability from the Crystalspawn Giants in the Stonecore instance.

Power Word: Fortitude

  • A party or raid buff that provides a certain amount of Stamina to the group for 1 hour.
  • This buff should be kept up all times and refreshed promptly, if a target dies and is brought back to life.
  • Does not stack with Blood Pact, Commanding Shout, or Qiraji Fortitude.

Shadow Protection

  • A party or raid buff that provides a certain amount of shadow resistance to the group for 1 hour.
  • This buff is only required for fights that involve shadow damage, as it significantly boosts your resistance to shadow spells only.
  • Does not stack with Resistance Aura.

VI. OTHER ABILITIES

Dispel Magic

  • A spell that can remove magical debuffs from yourself or your allies and that can remove buffs from enemy targets.

Mass Dispel

  • A spell that will attempt to remove 1 harmful debuff from any friendly targets or 1 buff from any enemy targets within a 15 yard radius.
  • Can affect a maximum of 10 friendly or 10 enemy targets.
  • Mass Dispel can remove magical effects that Dispel Magic cannot, such as Banish, Divine Shield, or Ice Block.
  • Targets those closest to the center of the green targeting circle and then moves outward.

Shackle Undead

  • A form of crowd control that works on Undead enemies and makes them unable to move or attack.

Cure Disease

  • Removes one disease from a friendly target.

Chakra

  • Please see the Chakra section of this guide for more information on this ability.

Guardian Spirit

  • An instant cast ability that causes a target to receive 60% more healing for 10 seconds. If a player dies while under the effects of Guardian Spirit, the Spirit will sacrifice itself to heal them for 50% of their maximum health.
  • Guardian Spirit is not affected by the global cooldown and the heal from it is able to crit.
  • The most Guardian Spirit can heal for is 200% of the maximum health of the caster, not the target.
  • The component of Guardian Spirit that increases healing received only lasts as long as the target survives. If the target dies and is brought back to life by Guardian Spirit, they no longer have that part of the buff on them, even if there was still enough time left on the buff for them to benefit from it.
  • This spell is most often used on tanks and can either be used at your discretion or can be requested in advance.

Hymn of Hope

  • A channeled spell that restores 2% mana to up to 3 nearby party or raid members with the lowest amount of mana for 8 seconds and increases their total maximum mana by 15% for 8 seconds.
  • Should be used in situations where you or others around you are low on mana and need help getting some of it back. For the best effect, use abilities that give you mana back, based on your maximum mana while the buff from Hymn of Hope is active (i.e. Arcane Torrent, Shadowfiend).
  • Priests now have 100% spell pushback while channeling this spell and will not be interrupted or lose channeling time because of incoming damage. However, you can still be stunned or interrupted and be forced to stop channeling because of this.

Leap of Faith

  • Also known as “Life Grip,” and pulls a party or raid member to your location.
  • Can be used to help with kiting situations or to help pull an ally out of something bad they are standing in.

Resurrection

  • Brings a dead player back to life. Cannot be used in combat.

Fade

  • Used to temporarily reduce the amount of aggro that you have or that you generate while in groups.
  • Should be used wisely and not spammed repeatedly throughout an encounter.

Psychic Scream

  • A form of crowd control that causes up to 5 nearby enemy targets to run away in fear.
  • Psychic Scream is not a reliable form of crowd control and should be used wisely in instances, especially in places where enemy targets are tightly grouped together. If you find that you have aggro, it is best to run towards the tank, so they can pull the enemies off of you. Using this spell to make them run away in fear only makes it harder for the tank to pick up threat on those targets again.

Shadowfiend

  • Summons a pet that temporarily fights for you and whose attacks help you regenerate mana when they land.
  • Each successful strike from a shadowfiend returns 3% of your maximum mana, so it is best to use it when you are under the effect of something that will increase the size of your mana pool (i.e. Power Torrent, a trinket like Fiery Quintessence).
  • Should be used on targets that are not near death, as the shadowfiend may not find another target right away if its current target dies and it may stand there and do nothing.
  • Can return more mana if used while Bloodlust or Heroism is active.
  • It was widely suggested at one point to use shadowfiend with Hymn of Hope to get the most mana back. While this strategy does indeed work, it can also be a challenge to time both abilities just right and to make sure that each ability sees its full duration (i.e. the shadowfiend does not die early or stops attacking or you get interrupted while channeling Hymn of Hope).

VII. CHAKRA

Introduced in Cataclysm, Chakra is a core ability for any holy priest, whether they are doing dailies by themselves or in a group and providing much needed healing. Chakra can be confusing and even overwhelming to some priests, but can become easy to use and adapt to with a little patience.

To place yourself in a Chakra state, simply cast Chakra and then cast one of eight spells immediately after that. Whichever spell you choose to cast next will determine which Chakra state that you enter.

Casting Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, or Binding Heal after casting Chakra will put you into Chakra: Serenity, which is our tank or single target healing stance. While in this particular Chakra, your direct healing spells have a 10% increased chance to crit and they will refresh the duration of a Renew that is already present on the target.

Casting Prayer of Mending or Prayer of Healing after casting Chakra will put you into Chakra: Sanctuary, which is our AOE or raid healing stance. This Chakra increases the healing done by your AOE healing spells and Renew by 15% and reduces the cooldown of Circle of Healing by 2 seconds.

You can also choose to enter a third state, called Chakra: Chastise, by casting Smite or Mind Spike after casting Chakra. This state increases your total damage done with holy and shadow spells by 15%.

In order to get the most out of your Chakra states, you want to place a talent point into a nearby talent in the holy tree called Revelations, which will convert your Holy Word: Chastise spell into another ability, depending on which Chakra state that you are in at the time.

Being in Chakra: Serenity will give you access to a spell called Holy Word: Serenity, which provides an instant cast direct heal on a target and increases your chance to critically heal that player by 25% for 8 seconds. Comes with a 10 second cooldown.

Holy Word: Sanctuary will become available to you once you activate Chakra: Sanctuary and lets you create a zone of healing light on the ground which heals anyone standing inside of it every 2 seconds for 18 seconds. It used to provide diminished returns, if more than 6 people were standing inside of it, but this was recently removed. Comes with a 40 second cooldown.

Chakra: Chastise is the only Chakra state which does not change Holy Word: Chastise into something else. The spell remains exactly the same as it is when you are not in a Chakra state.

Chakra comes with a 30 second cooldown, so if you enter the wrong Chakra state by mistake, you will have to wait at least 30 seconds to change into the correct stance. However, once you enter a Chakra state, you can remain in it, indefinitely. In the past, you had to maintain your Chakra state by casting certain spells (the ones that you would use to enter a Chakra state, to begin with), but that was removed a short time after Cataclysm launched.

For more information on Chakra, please see my Guide to the Chakra Sutra.

VIII. TALENTS

The most popular talent builds for a holy priest do not leave much in the way of versatility or options, mostly because we have very few filler talents to speak of. All of our talent points go towards things that we need in order to do our jobs well, and so we rarely have additional points to play with or to put into less useful things.

The two most common builds tend to revolve around your stat priority or which secondary stats you decide you want to gear for. Some talents are optional, while others are quite mandatory. Here are some builds that I would suggest for you to choose from, depending on your current situation.

For the holy priest who has just turned 85 or is gearing up through 5 mans:

This spec makes a great starter build for an up and coming holy priest, with an emphasis on talents that will help you manage your mana and that will help enhance the basic spells that you will be relying on in a 5 man setting.

Darkness and Divine Fury are important, as your spells are going to feel like they take a long time to cast, and every little bit of Haste helps. You also want to try and start gearing towards that first Haste breakpoint of 12.50, so you can get an extra tick of Renew and Divine Hymn. Speaking of Divine Hymn, I only placed 1 talent point into Heavenly Voice, as you should not be using Divine Hymn too much in a 5 man dungeon. Most of your talent points in this build will go towards enhancing your single target heals, like Heal, Flash Heal, and Greater Heal.

For the raiding holy priest, who is choosing to gear for Haste over Mastery:

 

 

This build is not much different than the previous starter build, with a few noticeable differences. Surge of Light has been removed, as you will most likely not be using most of the spells that would proc this talent in a raid enough where you would really benefit from having it. A second talent point has been placed into Heavenly Voice, as Divine Hymn is a very powerful cooldown and will be used frequently. One point was placed in Rapid Renewal, as Renew will start seeing more use as a spot heal once your gear improves and you should always be keeping Renew on the tank.

For the raiding holy priest, who is choosing to gear for Mastery over Haste:

This build is a more refined version of the previous two and focuses more on survivability and raw throughput, with less emphasis on Haste. Darkness is out, which leaves 3 additional talent points to put elsewhere. I would recommend placing these points into Inner Sanctum, as Blessed Resilience only helps you if you are the focus of an attack. Any damage caused by general raid damage or things like that will not proc this talent for you anymore. The 6% reduction in spell damage will benefit you in situations like those and especially if you find yourself breaking into Heroic modes, where the incoming raid damage can be quite intense.

IX. MASTERY

Our Mastery is called Echo of Light and it allows each direct heal that you cast on someone to heal them for an additional 16% over 6 seconds. Each additional point of Mastery that you have will increase the size of this heal by an extra 1.25%. The heal over time portion of Echo of Light ticks 6 times, or once per second. This healing is not affected by your Critical Strike or Haste rating.

“How does Echo of Light work?”

Any time that you cast one of the above mentioned heals or healing effects on someone, Echo of Light will leave behind a heal over time effect on them for 16% of how much that ability healed them for. For example:

Obscene’s Flash Heal heals Obscene for 16471
Obscene gains 455 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 455 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 455 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 454 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 455 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 455 health from Obscene’s Echo of Light

Admittedly, that doesn’t sound like a lot. Where Echo of Light really shines is with abilities that heal more than one person, like Circle of Healing and Prayer of Healing. Having numerous people receive an additional heal over time on them after you heal them is pretty nice and makes a difference on fights with heavy AOE damage. People standing in the effects of Holy Word: Sanctuary will also receive heals from Echo of Light and it will refresh itself as the person stands inside of it and for as long as the healing zone is generating heals.

Obscene’s Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Obscene for 680
Obscene gains 19 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene’s Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Obscene for 674
Obscene gains 19 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene’s Echo of Light is refreshed on Obscene
Obscene gains 28 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene’s Holy Word: Sanctuary heals Obscene for 621
Obscene gains 28 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene’s Echo of Light is refreshed on Obscene

This brings up a very good point and the next thing I will talk about.

“How does Echo of Light refresh itself?”

At first glance, it is easy to think that the heal over time placed by Echo of Light from a larger heal will be clipped by one from a smaller heal and then the overall effectiveness will be reduced. I used to think this way, too. Luckily, Echo of Light works in such a way where the overall HPS does not change because of this and will still provide a consistent amount of healing. Let’s say that I cast Greater Heal on myself and then Heal shortly after it.

Obscene’s Greater Heal heals Obscene for 21408
Obscene gains Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 592 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 592 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene’s Heal heals Obscene for 8026
Obscene’s Echo of Light is refreshed on Obscene
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 518 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light
Obscene gains 517 Health from Obscene’s Echo of Light

You may notice that the ticks from Echo of Light which came after Heal are healing for less than those that came after Greater Heal. You may also notice that refreshing Echo of Light before it was finished ticking down caused a 7th tick of Echo of Light to take place the next time around. As stated earlier, Echo of Light typically only provides 6 ticks. What does it all mean? It means that you did not actually heal for any less because you refreshed Echo of Light with a smaller heal. Let me show you how.

If you total up all of the Echo of Light ticks that took place in the previous example, you would come up with 4803. This is roughly the sum of 16% of the amount of your Greater Heal (3425) plus 16% of the amount of your Heal (1284) or what each would have normally healed for had the heal not been clipped. You can see that you have not actually lost any healing. You probably gained some, depending on how much Mastery rating you have. Mine is currently at 13.25 for the purpose of these examples.

The game took the amount of healing done by Echo of Light from the first heal (21408 x 16%), subtracted the healing that was already done (592 + 591) and then adds the healing that would take place by Echo of Light from the next spell (8026 x 16%). Then it divides that amount by 7, which give you 7 ticks of Echo of Light.

3425 – 1183 = 2242 + 1284 = 3526/7

When you add it all up, you will see that your Echo of Light was not affected negatively and you have not lost any healing by casting a smaller heal over a larger one.

(Excerpts taken from my original post, called “Understanding Echo of Light.”)

X. HOW TO TANK HEAL

For the rare occasions that you will be tank healing, you will want to make sure you are in Chakra: Serenity before you do anything else. Tank healing while holy tends to follow more of a rotation, so here are the steps I would suggest to follow when doing so.

Step #1: Cast Prayer of Mending on the tank and refresh on cooldown.

Step #2: Cast Renew.

Step #3: Spam Heal, as it is extremely mana efficient and keeps Renew and Echo of Light rolling on the tank, along with Inspiration.

Step #4: Use Holy Word: Serenity if the tank suddenly gets low. Follow it up with a fast heal, like Flash Heal. Use another Flash Heal if the previous one was not enough and then Greater Heal, if you require even more healing.

Step #5: Repeat, as necessary.

Flash Heal will give you one stack of Serendipity each time that you use it, so make sure you try to stabilize the tank with Flash Heal before you go straight to using Greater Heal. Trying to cast Greater Heal without any stacks of Serendipity present will be more expensive and it will take longer to cast.

Use Renew as a spot heal for individuals who may need healing in your party or Prayer of Healing if at least 3 people in the party require healing. If you take damage, use Binding Heal on the tank or someone else. Try not to use Circle of Healing too much in a 5m setting, unless you find that you need to heal while moving.

XI. HOW TO RAID HEAL

Chakra: Sanctuary will be your Chakra of choice, for when you are asked to heal the raid, which will be more often than not. Make sure you are in this stance before you begin tossing out heals. There tends to be less of a rotation for raid healing than there is for tank healing, but there are some important things to bear in mind.

Rule #1: Start off the pull by casting Prayer of Mending, preferably on the tank. It is possible to cast it on other targets during an encounter, depending on how much raid damage is going out. As stated in the tank healing section, you should be using Prayer of Mending on cooldown.

Rule #2: If at least 3 people in the raid, who are not in the same party are taking damage, use Circle of Healing.

If at least 3 people in the raid, who are in the same party have taken damage, use Prayer of Healing. Always use Circle of Healing first, then try to heal any groups back up to full with Prayer of Healing.

Rule #3: Always drop a Lightwell. Make sure you have a macro to announce that you have cast a Lightwell and be sure to vocalize where the Lightwell is in Vent or Mumble, if you can. If you notice that people are not clicking your Lightwell, ask people if dropping it in a better place may help. The most common reason that people do not click it is because they either cannot see it or they cannot reach it. Try to meet them halfway on this.

Contrary to popular opinion, it may not always be best to drop a Lightwell at the start of the pull. Some fights like Yor’sahj or Ultraxion have raid wide damage that takes a while to get going. Make sure you are dropping your Lightwell during times where it will get the most use.

Rule #4: Use Holy Word: Sanctuary carefully. Be sure to use this spell only during times where people are guranteed to be grouped up and standing still long enough to benefit from the healing that it puts out. For instance, you do not want to drop it when everyone is running around the platform on Hagara. But you will want to drop it throughout most of the Ultraxion fight, as you are standing in one place for the majority of the encounter.

Another piece of advice I would give you about Holy Word: Sanctuary is to give it time for it to do its thing. The healing that comes from this spell does not come quickly, but it does build up over time to eventually put out some nice numbers. It does not make any sense to drop a Sanctuary zone and then immediately override your own heals by spamming Circle of Healing or Prayer of Healing. There are situations where the outgoing raid damage is so intense that you will be casting frantically, in order to keep up. But more often than not it does not hurt to cast Holy Word: Sanctuary and then keep an eye on the healing that it is slowly being put out, filling in gaps when needed.

Rule #5: Do not spam Renew. Renew makes a great spot heal for individuals who are taking damage and in situations where your group healing spells may be overkill. Renew is great to keep rolling on a tank, if you can afford to do so. But please do not use Renew en masse to keep your raid up through incoming damage. You have other spells that can handle this better and without causing you to run out of mana so quickly.

XII. GLYPHS

Prime

The first thing I would like to suggest, regarding glyphs, is that you always keep a stack of Dust of Disappearance on you. There are some fights where some glyphs may shine more than others and it helps to tailor your glyph choices to meet your needs. While there are a number of glyphs available for holy priests, there are only a select few that are worth even considering. Here are some of the top choices that you may want to pick up for yourself.

[Glyph of Power Word: Shield]
This glyph can be useful when you are first starting out, as the heal that comes from putting a shield on someone is considered a direct heal, for the purpose of refreshing Renew while in Chakra: Serenity.

[Glyph of Lightwell]
This is a vital glyph that gives your Lightwell 5 extra charges for people to use. The only downside to this glyph is that like most things concerning Lightwell, its usefulness is dependent on the people in your raid or party actually using it. If your group tends to ignore the Lightwell, this glyph may not be the best for you.

[Glyph of Renew]
This glyph can be useful, depending on how often you use Renew and how much of your healing on the tank from Renew goes straight to overhealing.

[Glyph of Prayer of Healing]
An essential glyph, which leaves a HoT on targets healed by Prayer of Healing for 20% of the initial heal. Shines in a 5 man setting, but shines even more in raids.

[Glyph of Guardian Spirit]
This glyph used to be much more powerful in the previous expansion, but still has some use in recent times. If you are about to heal an encounter where Guardian Spirit is really relied upon or you are expected to use it at specific times, this glyph may be a good choice for you. If you are using Guardian Spirit on more of a “free for all” basis, I would consider a different glyph.

Major

[Glyph of Desperation]
This glyph is considered to be more of a PVP glyph, but I have found uses for it in a PVE setting. You can use it while entombed on Hagara and also while wrapped up in a tentacle on Spine of Deathwing. While it is not overwhelmingly useful, there are situations where this glyph can come in handy for you. Feel free to experiment and see what other fights you could get some use out of this one on.

[Glyph of Circle of Healing]
The recent change to this glyph, which increased its mana cost by 20% means that it could be less useful to you in a 10m setting, where Prayer of Healing tends to be used more and often times for less mana. I would consider this an essential glyph for a 25 man raider, but more of a toss up for someone who is raiding in a 10 man group.

[Glyph of Prayer of Mending]
Another glyph that is mandatory, this glyph causes the first heal provided by Prayer of Mending to heal for an additional 60%. This should be more of an incentive for you to keep Prayer of Mending bouncing at all times and the healing from this glyph can make a nice showing on the meters, too.

[Glyph of Fade]
This glyph can be useful when first starting out, especially if you are running with tanks who have just hit level 85 and are finding their footing, too. There should not be too many situations where you would need this glyph in a raid setting. If you do, this may mean you need to have a conversation with your tanks to try and understand where the problem lies.

Minor

[Glyph of Fortitude]
This glyph can help save you a bit of mana when you are buffing the raid before the pull or if you have to buff someone who has just received a battle res.

[Glyph of Shadow Protection]
This glyph makes it so that you do not have to re-apply the Shadow Protection buff as often. Mind you, there are not many situations where you need it for more than 30 minutes at a time, but this glyph is there if you do find yourself in that type of predicament.

[Glyph of Levitate]
More of a vanity glyph or something fun to have on you. Levitate has never been an essential spell, but not having to carry reagents around is always a good thing.

[Glyph of Shadowfiend]
Some priests feel that this glyph has declined in usefulness, as Shadowfiend now takes 90% less AOE damage. I still think it is better to be safe than sorry and the added insurance does not hurt. This glyph may not be as useful as it once was, but I think it still has a place in one of your glyph slots.

XIII. ENCHANTS

Head

Arcanum of Hyjal
+60 Intellect and 35 Critical Strike Rating
Guardians of Hyjal – Revered

Shoulders

Lesser Inscription of Charged Lodestone
+30 Intellect and 20 Haste Rating
Therazane – Honored

Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone
+50 Intellect and 25 Haste Rating
Therazane – Revered

Felfire Inscription
+130 Intellect and 25 Haste Rating
Inscription

Cloak

Enchant Cloak – Intellect
+30 Intellect
Enchanting

Enchant Cloak – Greater Intellect
+50 Intellect
Enchanting

Darkglow Embroidery (Rank 2)
Chance to increase your Spirit by 580 for 15 seconds when you cast a spell
Tailoring

Lightweave Embroidery (Rank 2)
Chance to increase your Intellect by 580 for 15 seconds when you cast a spell.
Tailoring

Chest

Enchant Chest – Mighty Stats
+15 to all stats
Enchanting

Enchant Chest – Peerless Stats
+20 to all stats
Enchanting

Bracers

Draconic Embossment – Intellect
+130 Intellect
Leatherworking

Enchant Bracer – Speed
+50 Haste
Enchanting

Enchant Bracer – Greater Speed
+65 Haste
Enchanting

Enchant Bracer – Mighty Intellect
+50 Intellect
Enchanting

Gloves

Enchant Gloves – Greater Mastery
+65 Mastery
Enchanting

Enchant Gloves – Haste
+50 Haste
Enchanting

Legs

Ghostly Spellthread
+55 Intellect and 45 Spirit
Tailoring

Powerful Ghostly Spellthread
+95 Intellect and 55 Spirit
Tailoring

Sanctified Spellthread (Rank 2)
+95 Intellect and 55 Spirit
Tailoring

Boots

Enchant Boots – Haste
+50 Haste
Enchanting

Enchant Boots – Lavawalker
+35 Mastery and Minor Movement Speed
Enchanting

Enchant Boots – Mastery
+50 Mastery
Enchanting

Weapons

Enchant Weapon – Heartsong
Chance to increase Spirit by 200 for 15 seconds when healing or dealing damage with spells
Enchanting

Enchant Weapon – Power Torrent
Chance to increase Intellect for 500 for 12 seconds when dealing damage or healing with spells
Enchanting

Which should you choose?

If you are interested solely in regen, choose Heartsong. If you are interested in less regen with some throughput on the side, choose Power Torrent.

For more information on both of these enchants, please view my original Heartsong v. Power Torrent post.

Off-hands

Enchant Off-Hand – Superior Intellect
+40 Intellect
Enchanting

XIV. GEMS

If you are looking to fill a red socket:
Brilliant Inferno Ruby: +40 Intellect (rare)
Brilliant Queen’s Garnet: +50 Intellect (epic)

If you are looking to fill a yellow socket:
Artful Ember Topaz: + 20 Intellect and 20 Mastery (rare)
Artful Lava Coral: +25 Intellect and 25 Mastery (epic)

OR

If you are looking to fill a a blue socket:
Purified Demonseye: +20 Intellect and 20 Spirit (rare)
Purified Shadow Spinel: +25 Intellect and 25 Spirit (epic)

Meta gems:
Ember Shadowspirit Diamond: +54 Intellect and 2% Maximum Mana (requires at least 2 yellow gems)
Burning Shadowspirit Diamond: +54 Intellect and 3% Increased Critical Effect (requires at least 3 red gems)

XV. CONSUMABLES

Flasks:
Flask of Flowing Water: Increases Spirit by 300 for 1 hour
Flask of the Draconic Mind: Increases Intellect by 300 for 1 hour

Food:
Delicious Sagefish Tail: Increases Spirit and Stamina by 90 for 1 hour
Severed Sagefish Head: Increases Intellect and Stamina by 90 for 1 hour
Basilisk Liverdog: Increases Haste and Stamina by 90 for 1 hour
Lavascale Minestrone: Increases Mastery and Stamina by 90 for 1 hour

OR

Potions:
Mythical Mana Potion: Restores 9250 to 10,750 mana. 1 minute cooldown.
Potion of Concentration: Restores 22,000 over 10 seconds, but requires you to stand still and channel to gain the full effect.
Volcanic Potion: Increases Intellect by 1200 for 25 seconds. Great for situations where mana is not an issue, but additional throughput is.