A Glimpse in the Mind of a Priest

In 10 seconds, anything can go wrong. In upper level raiding, there’s a certain element of micro management that needs to be done. We tried Kael again today and we still could not polish him off. Our best attempt was at 57% in Phase 4. It’s like your trying to get a good solid grip on running water. You can feel it through your fingers but it continues to slip away elusive to your grasp.

Here’s a scenario of a crazy, paranoid, overanalyzing Dwarf Priest in overdrive on a Kael fight during Phase 3:


Thought process

Tank at full health. Weapon swing coming in half a second. A quick glance at the Heads-up display reveals a Fear happening in 3. Thaladred’s gazing at a Priest adjacent to me and is heading to my direction (Gaze means he’s going to walk towards a player and hit him hard).


Activate a shield on my healing assignment, and start moving north away from the incoming mob.


Thought Process

I currently represent half the healing on my tanking assignment as the other Priest is busy evading Thal. Big heals are a must as is the fear ward.


Fear Ward, Renew, Prayer of Mending.


Thought Process

Gaze is off my partner and is now on a hunter next to me who just went flying through the air and is sitting at 45%. A quick glance at my assignment with 80% health shows my partner has him targeted with a heal on the way about to land in 0.7 seconds.


Hunter’s not going to be able to sustain another hit. Target him, Shield, Renew, switch back to healing assignment.


Thought Process


I recognize that voice. It’s my Priest partner. There’s a tremor totem on the ground from the shaman in our group and it pulsed 2 seconds ago. Not enough time. Hunter should be fine and in the clear. I’m going to be on my own for the next several seconds on my assignment.


Prayer of Mending. Better hope the WoW gods are listening and that it is able to mitigate more damage then the tank is taking. Tank’s health returns up to 60%. Activate Divine Illumination. Additional 25% chance to crit is better than 10%.


Thought Process

Blue rings shimmer around my assignment. It looks familiar, what the hell does it mean? Too late, I think to myself. It’s a Remote Toy. That equals stun. Stun equals lack of ability to take defensive measures by my healing assignment. Which also means not good. He’s down to 35%. Adrenaline’s already coursing through the system. The coffee I had earlier in the day is all but exhausted. He needs a big time crit heal now.


Slam max rank Greater Heal now.


Thought Process

XPerl shows my colleague starting to cast a heal not a moment after I did. Wait a minute…

…He’s casting a Greater Heal, too.
…There’s only 2 of us healing him.
…Which means he has less then 2 seconds to live based on weapon swing timers from the boss…


Do the simplest action to cancel a heal which is move. At the same time, blow a PW: Shield and pray it can withstand a hit. Oh no, Thal’s arm is up, and that means-



Thought Process

Oh crap. You failed the team. One simple miscalculation. One wrong heal at the wrong time. Sanguinar is now free and goes forth rampaging the raid.

Game over.

Priests are so easy to play. There are so many options to choose from. It’s easy to scrutinize one’s play in hindsight. But when you’re in the moment, the difference between raid success and failure can hinge on a something so insignificant as using the right heal at the right time.

Over 5 options to choose from and I picked the wrong one. Kael could have died tonight. This is going to haunt me for a long time.

It’s quite possibly one of the worse feelings anyone can experience in the world. It’s not being told what you did wrong by someone else. It’s knowing what you did wrong and knowing that it could have been prevented.

I should have rolled a Hunter.

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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.


  1. “I should have rolled a Hunter.”

    Well i’ve managed to wipe a raid often enough aswell as a Hunter, when i needed to pull on a tricky spot or when i needed to Misdirect to that tank at the right time…
    But i do agree, but there are many moments it doesn’t matter if i shoot a few seconds later.

  2. It probably won’t make you feel any better but I know *exactly* how it feels.

    Case in point: I had my worse night of raiding ever on Monday night. It fortunately didn’t slow the raid as everyone else appeared to be on ball and we killed Alar for the first time and went on to go kill Leo (for the second time) after.

    I think the druids may have even made a macro that went:

    /target Avlam
    /cast Rebirth

    It was that bad. I felt terrible about it until the following raid, last night, where I kicked ass (or healed their sorry asses actually). I think I’m over it now.

  3. Don’t roll a hunter, just go shadow. 🙂

    No getting blamed, no pressure and everyone wants you in their group for mana! YAY! Win/win!


  4. I’m sorry to hear it, when it happened and reading it again. Raiding is tough, and sometimes these things can’t be helped. Maybe if you and the other priest discuss prior who is taking care of large heals and who is taking care of mitigation heals when these situations come up? Raiding is a learning process. Though I’m sure every suggestion I could come up with here is something you’ve already thought of yourself 😉

    My incredibly biased suggestion: Get a resto druid running lifeblooms on tanks at all times 😀

    I know what it’s like to feel like it’s your fault the raid isn’t going well. Heck, I’ve caused so many deaths by healing/HoT mismanagement that I probably deserve all those instances where I’m the only one who goes down. Thankfully, I’m learning and my group still loves me!

  5. Wow… at virtually the same time I post “A Preview for the Healer’s Guide to World of Warcraft Domination” on SpellDamage, I come here and see this.

    Excellent post Matticus, keep it up.

  6. Lightshield says:

    Wow, I understand your pain (somewhat). Our healing problems don’t lie in our heals not being fast enough, but not being strong enough to heal over incoming damage. Paladin healing is like a frantic race to put out as many flashes of light as possible and MAYBE sneak in a holy light if the situation warrants it.

    The part that hurts the worst about healing is that when the tank dies, everyone is thinking (even if they arent saying it) “damn, that healer messed up.”

    The interesting thing about raid healing and raid tanking is that so much is dependant on so few! If one of the healers or tanks makes a wrong call, the entire raid wipes. If a DPS makes a mistake, it is easily recoverable.

    Miss a heal. Miss a shield block. Forget to pop your trinkets. Good game, run back and rebuff.


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