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