Snarkcraft Mailbag: 9/22/08September 22, 2008
The first dollar earned by a business is cause for celebration and often ends up framed for prominent display. Here at World of Snarkcraft, we are compensated only with accolades, rolled eyes and the satisfaction of snark well done. However… OMG first e-mail! While we won’t share every e-mail we receive, this one will always have a special place in our empty little hearts.
“I recently started a priest alt (my main is a 70 hunter) to play with my gf, who recently started playing agian, with a fresh hunter (we’re both belfs.) I only play it when she’s on, so we’re always grouped and questing together. My question pertains to my talents. Because we’ll be grouped I don’t feel as though I should go full dps with the shadow tree, nor should I go full healer with the Holy tree. As you can tell from the subject, I’ve been flirting with the disc tree. I view it as a way to increase base skills instead of either of the dps/healing areas, as I am constantly doing both.
Duoing is, hands down, my favorite way to quest/level. Things move along at a pretty steady clip without being laughably easy, and it’s a bit more entertaining (and easier) than going it alone. Shadow is all but universally regarded as THE spec to level with. It doesn’t really matter if you’re leveling alone or with a friend, with two of you putting out the pain things are going to die quickly and there isn’t going to be a lot of healing to be done.
With that said… I totally leveled as Discipline (all the way down to Reflective Shield) before branching out into Holy. Maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment, but I derived untold amounts of glee from watching critters bash themselves to death on my shield while I stood behind it, cackling and smiting/wanding with impunity. Oh, you want a piece of ME big bad wolf? Be not fooled by my docile appearance, this bunny has teeth!
Where was I? Oh right, leveling specs. Disc has always been a tree that didn’t quite know what it was for. More recently it has become the ‘Ha ha, you can’t kill me’ tree of choice for PvP/Arena Priests. Disc provides a lot of tricks to help you conserve mana, boost your mana/health pool and generally annoy anyone that tries to kill you.
What it may come down to is how much instancing you want to do while you are leveling. If you want to do more instances, choosing a Disc/Holy build will give you oomph while soloing/duoing as well as the mana efficiency and healing power that will help you keep your party up in a dungeon with relative ease. (Sure, Shadow Priests can heal–though they don’t want you to know that–but Holy/Disc priests do it better!)
At the same time, you can Smite your way through the instance if there is another healer handy–or if you are bored, as I often was, from lack of healing to be done. It might surprise you to learn, though, that most of the talents that boost your Smiting power (Holy Specialization, Divine Fury, Searing Light, Surge of Light, Spiritual Guidance) are in the Holy tree, not the Discipline tree. Since these talents also boost your healing power (Surge of Light aside), this is kind of a win-win for the Holy Priest.
If you see yourself mainly questing there’s really not a compelling argument NOT to go Shadow. It’s going to give you more bang for your buck.
Leveling Disc/Holy does earn you bragging rights, though.
First of all, congrats on joining us (join us! join us! join us!) Priest is my favorite class, and I’m always happy to find people willing to try it out. Like Seri, I’ve had really good experiences duoing in the past, so I had to jump in here and contribute my two copper to the subject.
How you should spec is mainly influenced by what you want out of levelling. Are you looking to get through the levels as quickly as possible? Are you wanting to goof off and sight see? Are you wanting to spend most of your time in instances? No one spec really restricts your ability to do any of the above, but certain specs lend themselves more to certain things than others.
To blast your way through levels as quickly as possible, go shadow. It is the best option if you’re wanting to make your way ASAP to 70. You will find yourself doing the best damage with the least amount of downtime. Shadow can also heal instances as well as Holy until at least lv 60. Holy makes it easier, yes, but the content isn’t tuned to be a problem to heal for an off-spec.
If you’re really wanting to throw yourself into the healing groove, however, and don’t want to mess with shadow form, go holy… or, rather, go Disc until you can snag Improved Divine Spirit, and then go holy. There’s all sorts of candy in the early Disc tree that’s basically designed to make you last longer, which is useful whatever you’re doing. For leveling, never underestimate the power of Wand Spec, Meditation, and Inner Focus. They are considered must-haves regardless of spec.
You mentioned specifically that you didn’t feel you “should” go fully DPS or healy since you’ll be a group character, and I’m uncertain of your reasoning behind that. You “should” do whatever makes you happy to do in a group. If it’s not any fun, why are you doing it?
My two requests: Consider investing your first 5 talent points in Spirit Tap, regardless of spec. Levelling with a hunter, you’re not going to get every killing blow, but Spirit Tap, especially added with Wand Spec (and does more damage, so it’s more effective to wand stuff down at the end) and Meditation can give you some awesome free mana. And secondly, never never never NEVER try to make a Holy/Shadow hybrid (beyond potentially the above-mentioned Spirit Tap). There is essentially no synergy between the two trees, and if you’re doing it trying to “do everything” you’re not going to have any of the staying power needed to do either of them well. Holy/Shadow is really only good for making you spend more money at the water vendor.