This isn’t going to be the most thorough guide out there, but in the past week, we’ve gotten many requests here at Snarkcraft HQ requesting a bit of basic priest-fu, ranging from leveling to raiding (seriously, multiple emails… you all sharing a brain or something?) so I’m gonna take the next few weeks to provide an overview.
This week: the noob years. Rolling and leveling.
Okay, so after stumbling upon our blog and becoming faithful readers, you say to yourself “Self… Priesting is awesome-pants. I totally want in on that. What should I do now?” Fear not, for Jov has answers and will steer you right.
First, you need to consider faction and playstyle. I’m horde, but I’m a reroll and played Alliance from 05 to 08, and make no secret of my total infatuation with the draenei. I don’t really have faction pride. Play what makes you happy, where your friends want to play, or where you can send yourself bags and heirloom shoulders. Related, determine how are you going to level. Are you going to solo quest? Whore yourself in LFG? Do you have a buddy you don’t leave home without? Take a moment to plan exactly what you want from the class, because that will affect how best to go from here.
If you choose to solo quest…
First, I’m gonna come out and say it. Shadow is totally viable for healing most instances, and is also much faster when it comes to questing out in the world. The advantage holy* (defined from here forward as “healy”) priests usually have is in mana regen and/or stronger heals. That isn’t an issue, however, until Outlands at the very earliest, so feel free to go straight to shadowform before jumping over to Discipline and picking up Meditation and going back for more shadowy goodness. Or badness, depending on perspective. (Think about something 13/0/31-ish in the mid-50s. Note: getting to Meditation happens however in the second tier… you don’t get the spellpower boost from Inner Fire (and want the boost to improved) until 71.) That will be more than enough to see you through until you’re closer to thinking about a “final spec.”
However, much as you can heal as shadow, you can definitely level as holy or discipline, bearing in mind it’s just going to be a bit slower to do so. For those of you going the mainly solo-route, I’m still going to advise sticking your first 5 talent points in shadow to snag spirit tap (and improved spirit tap), then jumping into Discipline to get Meditation as quickly as possible. The name of the game here is reducing downtime, since kill time will be a bit longer. But that’s alright, with Meditation and Spirit Tap working together, you’ll be a regen machine and rarely need water.
Once you hit lv 18, with it’s regen hijinks, you can pick your path: Discipline, or Holy. You won’t see much difference between the two while questing, nor will you really be running into the differences between the healing styles until closer to Outlands when you can pick up Circle of Healing or really become a bubble-priest. Discipline will want to pick talents which boost their spellpower and shields, and Holy will want to snag reduced cast time, more spellpower, and chance for free spells. Remember to respec at 71 for Improved Inner Fire if you’re not using it already!
If you choose to LFG…
… by which I mean “don’t quest, just instance level,” most of what I said above applies. Spirit Tap and some of the damage talents will decrease in utility, as you’ll mainly be using them when the party is going well or to duel outside Orgrimmar while waiting on a summon. There’s actually little to no reason to avoid going straight for one of the specs I outlined a few weeks ago, just remember to start in Discipline for Meditation, either way. You’ll be a healing machine, just maybe a bit slow if you try to kill anything yourself.
If you choose to Healbot your friends…
It’s kinda a combination of the two. Depending on who you’re running around with, you might not find Spirit Tap all that useful *grumble lousy hunters grumble* but you’ll probably find yourself smiting pretty frequently. It really depends on your group or what you’re doing. If you’re wanting to have fun smiting around, spec more for damage. If you’re just wanting to tag along and heal when needed, spec for healing. (Hey, I don’t judge. I first started playing Priest because it enabled me to auto-follow Tarsus’ first character, not get lost, not understand WASD controls, loot and heal occasionally. Even to this day, several years and many characters later, I STILL prefer to follow Tarsus as I have serious issues deciphering some quest descriptions.)
Next week: Jov discusses what makes healy priests unique: spells, glyphs, and talents.