Healing Priests in 4.1

Expecting an imminent patch drop! How are healing Priests stacking up? Pretty darn good actually.

No significant nerfs to Holy anywhere in 4.1. Some of our mechanics have changed slightly. Discipline suffered a slight nerf but gained buffs in other areas to the Atonement specs.

  • Power Word: Shield duration has been reduced to 15 seconds, down from 30.

Pre-emptive shielding continues to remain lucrative but the practice of shielding significant amounts of players in a raid is all but gone. In most logs, Power Word: Shield should be somewhere from 30% – 45% of the healing done due to the way it works and based on encounters as well as healing assignments. With the duration of it halved, the chances of it falling off unused become much higher. Discipline Priests will need to exhibit discipline and really make sure players get full benefits out of them.

Dispel mechanics have also changed slightly. Shadow Priests won’t be relied upon to dispel members in the raid anymore. It’ll be up to us to take care of it.


  • Absolution (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.
  • Chakra now lasts until cancelled, up from 1 minute.
  • Holy Word: Sanctuary healing done has been increased by 35%. In addition, it has a new spell effect.
  • Surge of Light can now also trigger from Binding Heal.

Chakra dancing is just about gone now. Your present Chakra state will last as long as you like. I guess they saw no need to keep mindlessly pressing keys to refresh your Chakra state. It’ll be easier for Holy Priests to stay in one Chakra stance from now on.

Sanctuary gets a huge buff. It’ll go from “Ugh, never use” to “Eh, I’ll use it when we all stack up”. PTR numbers looked promising, but without being able to put a raid together, I’ve never been able to gauge  how awesome it would be.


  • Absolution (new passive) enables priests to use Dispel Magic on up to 2 harmful effects on friendly targets.
  • Divine Aegis duration has been increased to 15 seconds, up from 12.
  • Atonement now works with Holy Fire in addition to Smite.
  • The direct damage portion of Holy Fire can now trigger Evangelism.
  • Power Word: Barrier’s cooldown has been increased to 3 minutes, up from 2, and its effect has been reduced to 25%, down from 30%.
  • It is now possible to remove Weakened Soul effects that were a result of another priest’s Power Word: Shield through Strength of Soul.
  • Holy Fire damage has been increased to be approximately 30% higher than Smite.

Atonement Priests get extra help now that it works with Holy Fire (at least, the direct damage portion of it). Not only that, Holy Fire gets buffed? I’m curious to see how this will play out in raids and if Atonement healing will become  more widely practiced.  

Power Word: Barrier gets nerfed with a cooldown increase along with  reduced effectiveness. Shouldn’t be too much of a bit hit. With Druid Tranquility cooldowns lowered and Shamans gaining access to the equalizer totem,  healing leaders now have much more options at their disposal.

Enjoy the patch! Looking forward to your thoughts when it goes live!

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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. The PW: Barrier dual nerf is a weird one, I rarely used it except as an “oh s@#t” button, longer cooldown and reduced effectiveness means that it just gets an even lower priority.

    It is a shame as the idea rocks just the implementation is way off imho.

  2. Really? I use it extensively upon cooldown in tandem with my other Disc Priest. We’ve found it really helps with mitigation or playing catchup if were behind on healing.

    • Maybe its cos I’m in 10 man and the majority of fights its a once per fight thing.

      Don’t get me wrong, it is and will be used still and does rock in red Maloriak phases and Theralion Meteor Strikes when behind on heals at 2 mins I always felt it was a bit too long to to use as anything more than an emergency. In 25s where you can rotate with another it must be a great tool for preventing the spikes rather than buying time.

  3. Finally got a chance to heal a few raid bosses on my alt Priest as Disc last night. I had forgotten how awesome they can be!!

    I do think the 3min cd will be a slight annoyance as I used it quite a lot, although i can see this in line with other classes. I don’t understand though why Hymn of Hope and Divine Hymn are still long cooldowns compared to mana tide totem, innervate and now tranquility (and possibly a pally one? not sure as I dont play one)

  4. Barfolomew says

    People reported on the ptr that sanctuary wasn’t benefiting from mastering. Hopefully this isn’t intended as it more or less offsets the buff.

  5. Our Disc priest just went a little mad, seems the cost of PW:S has been increased? Nothing in the patch notes though.

    Any idea if this was a planned thing or a bug?

    • That’s likely just a holdover from the Feb 16th Hotfix on 4.0.6.

      “Power Word: Shield now costs roughly 34% of base mana, up from 25%. This is not reflected in the tooltip, but is reflected in the amount of mana used when the spell is cast. The tooltip update will require a client-side patch.”

      4.1 is the first client side patch since then, so the actual cost hasn’t gone up, the tooltip has simply caught up.

    • Ah cool Domh

      Thanks for that, haven’t seen an explantion for it anywhere else.

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