My Definition of a Good Priest Redux

My Definition of a Good Priest Redux

Focus

Almost two years ago, I wrote a post about the definition of a good Priest. It was one of the questions posed by Ego back then (to which I’ve lost the original link to).

The Priest class has evolved over the past two years. We’ve gained some and we’ve lost some. Has my stance on the subject changed?

Overall Awareness: This has not changed much. If anything, the amount of information needed to make the right choice at the right time has gone down slightly. With the removal of downranking, gauging the health of a player and then responding with the appropriate rank is no longer necessary. We’re still watching out for fires and health bars. I daresay the number one killer of Priests everywhere is getting out of dangerous stuff too slowly or not at all. We’ve moved from Nightbane’s fires to Sartharion’s Flame Walls to Kel’Thuzad’s Void Zones to Mimiron’s Rocket Strikes.

Perseverance: The bosses are different. The spells and tools have become increasingly diverse. I don’t like giving up. No one likes to lose. I may not express it, but I do chase after that “high” I get after taking down a boss. It’s a great feeling knowing that you played a key role. Good Priests know when to take risks to keep tanks alive. Most fights have one or two tanks that are involved with doing something. When the tanks are down, the game is over.

Clairvoyance: Can you predict incoming damage before it lands? Can you react to the little DBM mark that gets placed on a player which signifies the ensuing Shadow Crash? When Flash Freeze hits, do you know who is going to make it and who isn’t going to make it? These are the little things that separate great healers from okay healers. Your reaction time isn’t going to increase. But spotting these small details sooner will help you make your decisions quicker. One DoT tick is enough to kill a player. How many last second saves have you made on players? Ever received slaps on the back after a kill when a raid member thought they were done for only to be saved from the jaws of death with a last second shield, or instant heal to pull them out from the red health bar?

Preparation: One thing I am glad that has changed is the amount of preparation. I used to bring 20-40 potions every raid night. Brilliant Mana Oil was in my inventory. Flasks were supplied with Illidari Marks or were farmed for on my Elemental Shaman. The reduction of chain potting has dropped potion consumption drastically. I go through about one to two injectors a month instead of per raid. I lock myself in Howling Fjord and shoot enough fish to keep myself stockpiled (MP5 fish).

Openness: Always keep an open mind. Don’t shut down everything you hear. Feedback is feedback. It’s up to you to discern between valuable and useless. But outright rejection should come after you examine it. What are other people saying about you? Does it have merit? What information is missing from their perspective? What do they see when they watch you? I can’t emphasize critical thinking enough.

All in all, it seems my stance hasn’t changed much over the past two years. It’s been refined a little by the different class changes and from my forays into the different raids. When I wrote the original post, I had just finished wrapping up Gruul’s and Mag’s. Opening into SSC started a month after that post. Man how that time flies by, eh?

How about your class? Has your definition of a good <class> changed?

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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. smeegoan says:

    priest here. holy/discipline specced. raiding ulduar 10/25 and downing aspects.

    I’m loving the changes. I run with another holy priest, and her and my styles differ greatly. I”ll keep pom up spam COH every cd, utilize the heck of coh and roll POH’s in heavy raid damage. and use my flash on surge of light procs.

    She’s the opposite, flash and coh and pom are her mainstay, through addons we know what we and the other healers targets are, and we both do put out renew… and yes I’ve toyed with the idea of a holy holy POH renew spec… but alas..
    going in to some fights discipline and doing not much but shielding healers, and tanks, at ayurila (sp) has proven fruitful. she’ll raid heal while I’ll make sure the healers can raid heal without interruption.

    Loving the changes, from when “flash = stupid priest” to “coh spam” to multiple ways to effectivly play the class and compliment the raid.

    it changes for me, alot. Running some good rets that judge light alot? ok cool I dont’ have to worry as much about those groups.

    Its actually fun and dynamic again. I’m terrified blizz will change things.

  2. I think my definition has changed a bit, with all the various changes the classes have gone through. I’d require a good priest player to be adaptable. Spells change, Blizzard shake things up, how quickly can you figure out your new spells and how to use them best?

  3. These are requirements that can be used to measure any “good” raider, not just priests.

  4. I think preparation is something every raider should have… In my guild we lately have some issues with that. I personally run around with 40 elixers, 20 flasks, 50 pots, 40 food, guildbank fishfeasts,… While others after using 1 flasks say “emm, I don’t have any flasks anymore”. Shouldn’t happen! I do dailies every day and it’s more then enough gold to keep my raiding supplies flowing and buying off the auctionhouse.

    I think the rest of the things you said are right. Though 1 think I’d like to add is (and this may sound silly):
    “Listening to healing assignments”
    Last night we whiped on 3 bosses due to healers NOT knowing what their assignments were (I find it hard to miss my macro spam in healing channel but others don’t). Always a different healer. Don’t assume because you always healed the adds tank/raid you won’t be on the MT this time. Because the key to healers (more then dps imo) is knowing what to do in the fight so the others can focus 100% on their own assignments. Healing is a team sport, if you want to shine as a solo player then you just rolled the wrong class/role.

    SuicidalPriests last blog post..Overpowered? Nooo…

  5. Allindra says:

    I have a casual guild and we never know who will be on any given night for raiding, which is why I had come to be raiding on my resto druid for the past month at least and gotten a bit rusty on my priest.

    What I do like is the fact that a good priest can come back to the character they haven’t played in awhile and find that their decisions and reflexes still work in the same way. Last night we ended up with another resto druid and a resto shammy ready to go and thus I was called on to bring my priest as disc (regular spec is holy). Towards the end of the Kologarn-10 fight, the MT’s health was rapidly dropping and I was in the process of running from eyebeams that were targeting ME. The resto shammy had died mid-fight, and my choice was either stop and get that penance off and die to the eyebeams myself, or let the tank die. So I chose to penance, got killed by the eyebeams, saved the tank and the rest of the raid killed the boss. 🙂

    I also love a lot of the changes they have made to the priest class which have turned discipline from a pvp spec into a viable pve spec. Good disc priests can PWN.

  6. I agree. One of the main reasons I loved my Priest over my Shaman or my Druid as a healer was the tools I brought to the table. I was known, when I still raided, as the best healer in my guild because even though I never topped healing meters, I was always the Priest with mana at the end of a long fight because I understood conservation, I was always the Priest who was able to notice a rogue who needed a shield and a HoT when everyone else was too single-minded on “assignments,” and I was always the Priest who understood the mechanics of the class. Too often people roll a class to get prestige or to get invites to a guild or PuGs more easily, but I think what differentiates the run-of-the-mill Priests from the exceptional ones is understanding and actually playing the class they want to play.

    Beejs last blog post..Why There Has Never Been a Better Time for a Live-Action Star Wars TV Series

  7. It’s questions like these that realy force me to think about how i play my class, i don’t think i’m anything special as for as a holy priest goes but i still work hard to keep raids going to the best of my abilities.

    I usually take the support route when healing, i tend to concentrate on fight specific gimmicks and am usually the first one to hit Dispel and Abolish when needed other then that i spec almost entirely for raid healing and throw any relevant cooldowns on whicher tank needs it most.

    I can tell when looking back on encounters that i have a lot to improve on especialy when it comes to predicting damage and being aware of my mana pool, but hopefully i can get better with experiance.

    I personaly think a good priest is one who can adapt to situations quickly, as the most versitile healing class we need to be able to snap from healing the tank thats getting dangerously low on health to healing raid members and back to the tank in quick succesion.

  8. Corinthor says:

    You may as well ask what you think makes a good player because your topics can be attributed to all players regardless of class or spec. You give topics that can be applied to tank and dps classes as well as healers.

    Awareness in general is key and no amount of healing will keep that unaware dps from dying in a void zone.
    Clairvoyance can also translate to a tank hitting their mitigation cooldown at the right moment or dps knowing when to hightail it out of a whirlwind.
    Perserverance is to just keep going. Even if you feel like it might be a wipe, you never know when a group member (or yourself) surprises you and is just able to eek it out until the boss dies. It may not be pretty but the boss doesn’t get any deader than dead.
    Openness and Preparation are lifeskills. If you know how to take criticism in the game then you probably know how to accept critique from your friends or family. And if you’ve been through cub scouts then you already know to “always be prepared.”

    So all-in-all my perspective on what makes a great player hasn’t changed but I just keep finding more specific reasons to say “I like them, they play well” versus “OMG I WANT TO REACH THROUGH THEIR MONITOR AND (*&#^$$&@)(*%(*_@(#&@(”

    One final thing that I’d like to add to what makes an exceptional player is that they know, not only their class and their abilities, but they know their position in comparison to the rest of the raid. A dps is a dps and there are usually more dps than healers or tanks (unless you’re planning on taking every boss to enrage). A dps that dies is not that big of a deal (most times) and the raid can continue without them. If a healer dies, you feel it. If a tank dies, you wipe.

    For instance, this one ret pally in my guild is amazing. I think he presses every key on the keyboard every boss fight. Without fail he Divine Sacrifice+ Bubbles every fight, uses salvation, BoProtection, taunts and off tanks if a healer gets agg’d, even will take a fatal blow to save someone more beneficial to the raid. And on top of that, he still places 3rd in overall dps. I love playing with him because he knows his class, knows that he has more keys than just his light, medium, and fierce strike, and knows his position in the raid. He will gladly take a hard hit to save a more pertinent healer. This is my specific definition of being raid aware.

    As you mentioned, healers have to have this quality. Who can take the extra hit? Does the mage still have iceblock up? Can that pally bubble? Discretion is paramount.

    And I think I’ve rambled enough for now

  9. Gunstrak says:

    This is a great article.

    Honestly I have to agree with “Corinthor”. I personally feel that the 5 points you outline define the quality of any player, not just priests/healers.

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