10 Answers for the Clueless 2.4 Raiding Holy Priest

In order to become an effective Holy Priest, you have to understand the situation you are in. You have to be able to assess the threat to you, your raid, and your tanks. You have to be able to make sense of all the information that is coming in and prioritize it without even thinking about it. Any hesitation could kill your raid.

With that in mind, I wanted to prepare for you a list of questions that you might have as a new Priest looking to take their first step into the world of raiding. Remember that healers will always be scanning and checking to make sure that everyone is in tip top shape. I guess you could apply this to any healer, but it’s specifically meant for Priests.

How should I spec my Priest?

I believe that a raid should utilize a Priest with Improved Divine Spirit in their talents to help increase raid caster DPS. Subsequent Priests should then switch to Circle of Healing.

Circle of Healing is not as effective in Tier 4 instances (Karazhan, Gruul’s Lair, Magtheridon) as compared to certain Tier 5 encounters (Tempest Keep, Serpentshrine Cavern) but it is an absolute beast in Tier 6 and higher (Mount Hyjal, Black Temple).

Should I grab Lightwell?

Not really. I don’t. Sure it has it’s uses but I can think of better talents to spend points on.

Should I down rank my healing spells?

Yes. The 2 piece Tier 5 set bonus is absolutely perfect for this. A rank 1 Greater Heal for a Priest just finishing Tier 5 content will hit for about 2700+ which costs 214 mana (properly talented). Although the spell itself takes 314 mana, the set bonus returns a solid 100 mana back. I spend most of my raid doing nothing more than stopcast spamming Greater Heals. If it lands, it doesn’t adversely affect my mana pool. It’s definitely an affordable spell.

How do I handle main tank healing?

Maintain your Renew at all time. Keep Rank 1 and Rank 7 Greater Heals ready. In fact, they should always be in the casting bar. Feel free to light your tank with Prayer of Mending to boost their threat. Do your homework on the boss that you’re fighting. Know their abilities and what they will do. Eyeball the amount of health they lose in a typical swing. For example, Archimonde frequently strikes my MT for approximately 9000 health. My tank has 21000 health. It’s going to take about three solid hits without any heals before he dies. By being able to gauge the amount of incoming damage they take, you know how to react to it appropriately.

Do not be afraid to use your Flash Heal to get your players up in the event your other instant spells are on cooldown. Efficiency is always outweighed by keeping your team alive.

How do I handle raid healing?

Again, like main tank healing, if you know what’s hitting the raid then you can act on it accordingly. For example, if a boss has an AoE type spell that strikes every 20 seconds like clockwork, then you know that the players who get initially hit by them do not need your full and complete attention. Simply dropping renews or downranked Greater Heals on the affected players will get them to full strength before the next AoE hit. Circle of Healing is ultimately the best AoE healing spell in the game when you have enough of a bonus. Chain Heal is a close second but it is unfortunately not instant nor is it able to hit 5 players simultaneously.

What priority should I be healing my raid in?

If you’re tasked with healing a raid during a special gimmick encounter, it’s going to largely depend on the boss. I have noticed that there are two types of raid damage being dealt.

1: Lots of damage concentrated on a few players in the raid

Hydross is an excellent example of this situation. His tomb strikes a couple of players throughout the raid encasing them and dealing a hefty punch. It’s all about timing in this situation. Bosskillers and WoWWiki tell you the approximate damage being done. Use the appropriate sized heal for the response.

Let me use Rage Winterchill here. Like Hydross, he will encase one random player in a raid (Icebolt) which does ~5000 initial damage and locks them in place. That player takes 2500 damage per second for 4 seconds. So you’re looking at 15000 damage within a short amount of time. Slap a shield on the player if you like and then proceed with with the flash heal spamming. Keeping a player alive is the priority. It’s way more important than being efficient.

2: Damage that can be anticipated spread out over the raid

In these situations, your endurance will be tested. You do not want to be burning Flash Heals as quick as you can. Here it is all about mana management.

Najentus is one such boss who consistently hammers the raid with spines being thrown out. His needle spine targets 3 players in the raid and they take ~3700 damage along with an additional ~2500 damage to everyone that is nearby. When his shield goes up, he is immune to all damage. To break it, you have to hurl a spine back at him which shatters the shield which deals exactly 8500 damage to the entire raid. This happens every 60 seconds.

The biggest question that should always be asked is how long does this person have before they take too much damage and die?

  • Is everyone above 40% health?
    If there are a few players that are below, those players are your priority. Drop a downranked Greater or tap your Circle of Healing once or twice if you notice that group is low. Focus on these players first because a random spine could kill them. Feel free to use Flash Heal if you don’t think you have the time.
  • Is everyone above 70% heath?
    This is your next level. Get anyone below 70% back up to full strength. You have to be able to prioritize who needs heals now and who can wait 5 seconds.

Otherwise, you will have to experience a few wipes to get a general ‘feel’ for how the encounter goes.

How should I gem my gear?

The 2.4 patch revamped the way our Spirit worked. Here’s what I suggest:

Rare gems

  • Blue: Purified Shadow Pearl or Royal Nightseye
  • Yellow: Luminous Noble Topaz
  • Red: Teardrop Living Ruby or Royal Nightseye

Epic gems

I’m a true believer in Spirit now.

What consumables should I use?

Food: Golden Fish Sticks or Blackened Sporefish (But you know my thoughts on the subject).
Flask: Flask of Distilled Wisdom or the cheaper Flask of Mighty Restoration.
Oils: Superior Mana Oil (Brilliant Mana Oil is cool too).
Elixirs: If you want to skimp on flasks, try combining Elixir of Draenic Wisdom and Elixir of Healing Power

Is overhealing bad?

Let me put it this way. Would you rather overheal your target and waste 500 mana on a 6000 heal or underheal your target and risk his death? The fact of the matter is that any healer who is on a tank should always be casting a heal spell and then stopcasting it or letting it complete. It’s common to see tanks face crushing blows of over 9000+ damage. It’s better to have a heal on the way then wait your 2.5 seconds for the heal cast time and pray he avoids the next weapon swing from the boss.

What about haste?

You know, that’s a really good question. Honestly, I haven’t placed too much thought into it but here’s my logic. Our mana regeneration rates have improved a lot and there are various methods for us to get mana back. I noticed that a majority of the time, my mana is above 80% on trash. I can afford to bag a few pieces of regeneration gear in favour of haste gear. I figure lowering my global cooldown rate to 1 second could be a good thing. The faster my spells go off, the more heals I land. I can land more heals this way because mana regeneration is not a limiting factor.

And there you have it! You are now ready to face the perils of 25 man raiding. Good luck and good hunting! When in doubt, simply ask yourself: What would Matticus do?

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.

Comments

  1. Awww….I almost feel like I got a lil’ shout-out there.

    Your take on “how much damage will they take” is fabulous. One of the biggest difficulties with adjusting to raid-healing is the proactive, rather than reactive, approach you MUST take to healing your assignments. Renew the warlock BEFORE they run out of mana, ProM the tank as they run in, and as soon as you see the shadow bolts on your screen, start ProH so that your fellow healers don’t even have to think about healing themselves rather than their own targets.

    I need a t-shirt that says “Stopcasting saves lives.”

    Thanks, again, Matt, for making the morning at work more edifying 🙂

  2. Hooray for brownie points!

    *grumbles* Still feels too wall-of-texty :(.

  3. Haha. Brownie points with chocolate chips!

    It’s just that you’ve tackled a broad array of topics on a very complicated subject. Priest-healing requires more detailed explanation because we are a jack-of-all trades healer. If you were writing in detail about any hybrid class, it would be expected to be long. Priests, in this one “spec” are a hybrid of a bunch of healing styles: HoTting, pre-heals, AoE, Direct Heals, insta-casts, and the associated gear/mentality/myths. (not to mention the recent complication in how our base mana-pool, regen, and +healing are now inextricable)

    Each point is succinct and well-organized. Read once, and it will be very easy to come back and find an answer when you need it again later.

    Or maybe I just appreciate a good wall o’ text crit. –you have become more powerful than anyone can possibly imagine–

    You could always throw in pics of tap-dancing murlocs.

  4. Wall of text crits reader……:P

  5. Nuetralise says:

    Really like it Matt,

    a lot of it ties in fairly well with a post I’m doing on assisting in raids .. more specifically healers in raids checking if another healer is already on their target before they blow a fast heal and waste peoples mana.

    Definetely a good post to milk off, thanks lol <3

  6. This is good stuff and really helps me out. Could you please recap the healing spells you use the most? I’ve been basically using just renew and flash heal while leveling. I just found out how much more mana efficient it is to use greater heal instead.

  7. on spell haste as a healer:

    Ideally you should end every fight with less than 20% mana, and all restorative cooldowns down. If not, you aren’t putting out as much healing as possible. If you just can’t do it (without overhealing your mana pool into oblivion), that is the point where spell haste becomes a true asset, but it is NOT(!) a primary stat, always be aware of the trade-offs in stats that you make to accomodate spell haste.

    On 2pc T5:
    That nifty bonus nets me about 6k mana per boss fight

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