Holy Priest Healing Guide for PvE
A couple of abilities were removed: Hymn of Hope, Greater Heal has been renamed to Heal (and the old one was removed,) Inner Fire, Inner Focus, Inner Will, Psyfiend, Rapture, Strength of Soul, Train of Thought, Void Shift. A number of other abilities were changes or restricted.
Naturally you have the extra levels and new talents.
See our Priest changes in Warlords of Draenor post for all the changes to all flavors of Priest.
This page is focused on level 100 Holy Priests in PvE (dungeons, raids, etc.,) but lower levels will also find value here. If you’re looking for other specs or leveling or PvP see the links in the Contents section.
|This Holy Priest guide is primarily intended for use at level 90. However, the principals will still apply during the leveling process. If you’re looking for advice on leveling your Priest, check out our Priest Leveling Guide.
If you want the same in-game step by step leveling guide that we use to get to level 90 as fast as possible, take a look at our favorite in-game leveling guide.
Other Priest Guides:
Holy Priest Healing Talents
Talents can be easily swapped for other talents. Keep a stack of tomes handy and switch them as necessary. The better you know the fights the better you’ll be able to adapt.
Tier 1, Level 15
- Desperate Prayer is an instant self-heal for a decent amount of health. This is the best choice for most situations, because it gives you the most control over when to use it.
- Specral Guise is more of a PvP thing.
- Angelic Bulwark shields us when we drop to low health, an alternative method of survivability to Desperate Prayer. Angelic Bulwark might beat out Desperate Prayer on fights where you expect to drop to low health more often than Desperate Prayer can be of use. It’s also a passive ability, you don’t have to be concerned about hitting a key.
Tier 2, Level 30
- Body and Soul adds a nice speed boost to our Power Word: Shield. If your targets of PW:S typically also need the speed boost, then this is your pick. More precise than Angelic Feather, but more expensive, especially if the target doesn’t really need the shield.
- Angelic Feather is ideal for providing on demand speed boosts to one player at a time. Very flexible. Not as expensive to cast as Power Word: Shield (under Body and Soul.) Its only issue is proper placement when people are grouped.
- Phantasm is more for PvP heroes (it’s a PvP trinket) than us Dragon Slayers.
Tier 3, Level 45
No clear winner here, grab whichever works best for you. If your Mana is good then grab Surge or Solace, depending on your needs.
- Surge of Light – If you’re just healing (and not DPSing) and your mana is fine then take this one. If you’re having mana issue then take a look at the other two talents in this set.
- Mindbender boosts Shadowfiend, increasing our mana regeneration, which isn’t bad at all. This is the pick on the assumption that you need the mana. Take solace if you’re doing damage, Surge otherwise.
- Power Word: Solace – Take this if you want to add to the team’s damage and you don’t need the extra mana of Mindbender. PW: Solace does return some mana.
Tier 4, Level 60
Doesn’t matter much which one you grab. All three of these are situationally useful at best and unlikely to add much to a fight.
- Void Tendrils is a point blank AoE root. They’re stuck, but can still act. Nice if you find yourself as the center of attention, such as from a group of adds that takes a liking to you. Cast the tendrils, then move away.
- Psychic Scream – More of a PvP telent. It’s best use in PvE is to piss off the tank.
- Dominate Mind is exactly what it sounds like. Note that dominated targets will attack you when the domination wears off.
Tier 5, Level 75
All of these will add to your overall effectiveness, but Power Infusion gives you a burst when you need it.
- Twist of Fate is a damage and healing boost that’s best taken for encounters where you expect to be throwing out emergency heals to low health targets on a frequent basis. Grab this one if that’s how your team rolls.
- Power Infusion is a haste boost that also reduces the cost of our spells for the duration. This is the best option for most fights due to the control you in deciding when to trigger the buff.
- Spirit Shell – for 10 seconds you will shield instead of heal.
Tier 6, Level 90
Cascade is better for larger groups, Halo for smaller groups, and Divine Star should be skipped.
- Cascade operates best when your raid is somewhat spread out and needs periodic healing. Less expensive than Halo. Can pull a lot of adds if you target an enemy.
- Divine Star is a cheap heal with a short cooldown, but Prayer of Healing is better than Divine star, to skip this one
- Halo is the better choice when your raid is really spread out and your need to heal a number of targets at range. Expensive heal, but if that’s how your group tends to stack up then it’s the best pick. Not recommended in a dungeon full of aggressive trash.
Tier 7, Level 100
- Clarity of Purpose: Heals an ally for up to 100% and heals up to five nearby (within 10 yds) allies for the same amount. Replaces Prayer of Healing. 2.5 sec. cast time.
- Words of Mending: Heals and shields grant you stacks of “Word of Mending.” At ten stacks your next direct heal or shield also casts Prayer of Mending at the same target. Not a cooldown, but neither are the others and this one is free.
- Saving Grace: Instantly heal a friendly target for a big chunk of their max health, but your healing done is reduced by 10% for 10 seconds and this stacks up to ten times. Cast this one a few times and you won’t be doing much with the other heals. Might be worth it in some situations, such as when you need a big heal right now” and can afford the lessened heals afterwards.
Holy Priest Glyphs
In Warlords you learn a number of glyphs automatically as you level. They are not installed, but they do appear in your glyph list. All other glyhs need to be obtained the usual way, by a friendly scribe or the Auction House. The glyphs you will learn are:
- At level 25, you will learn: Glyphs of Levitate, Holy Fire, Fade
- At level 50: Reflective Shield, Smite, Mind Blast
- At level 75: Penance, Renew, Dispersion
More or less in order of interest.
- Glyph of Renew – Bigger heal ticks, but a shorter duration.
- Glyph of Deep Wells – Adds 2 charges to your Lightwell, which seems like a good thing in all cases.
- Glyph of Binding Heal – Heals a third target (within 20 yards,) but adds 35% to the mana cost. If you can afford that then this is a good pick.
- Glyph of Circle of Healing – heals one additional target, but at a significant additional mana cost. Might be worth it in 25s or is your mana regeneration can handle the cost.
- Glyph of Prayer of Mending – Bigger heal to the first target, but one less hop. It’s an overall loss to healing, but if one target is taking much of the damage then this can be a good pick.
- Glyph of Fade – reduces damage by 10%.
- Glyph of Spirit of Redemption – duration increased by 10 sec.
- Glyph of Purify – adds a small heal to the target of your dispell.
- Glyph of Levitate – faster levitating.
Minor glyphs are entirely cosmetic. Pick any three, they will have zero effect on your raid performance.
Holy Priest Stat Priorities
In Warlords the Hit, Expertise, PvP Power, and Resilience stats are dead. So is Reforging. Your Int no longer adds to Crit, but you start with a base 5% anyway. You now have an “Attuned” stat, Multistrike, which Blizzard feels is the best stat for “throughput, ” so you get an additional 5% of that stat via your level 90 Divine Providence ability. That ability also improves the effect of all of your Multistrikes.
You also have two new stats: Versatility and Multistrike.
- Priority: Multistrike > Haste >= Intellect >= Mastery > Versatility > Crit
- Spirit provides your mana regen and you will need some of it. Consider it to be a pretty valuable stat until you can last an entire fight without running out. You will need to get it from gear as gems no longer have spirit and the only enchant that does is a weapon enchant.
Multistrike gives you chance for one or two additional shots at reduced effectiveness (50% effect in your case.) This can add up to a lot of extra healing.
Haste is really valuable at certain breakpoints, otherwise it just allows you to cast faster and your DoTs to tick faster at the expense of burning your mana faster. At the breakpoints you gain one extra tick on those DoTs or your casting suddenly becomes more efficient due to your cooldowns being more in sync. You can check Totemspot for a list of the Haste breakpoints you might want to shoot for.
Int provides your spellpower and some crit, it does not add to mana pool and has nothing to do with mana regeneration. Also, it no longer adds crit. Since it’s not available through gems or enchants (at level 100) it’s no longer a stat that you can stack, hence the lower priority.
Mastery adds a Heal Over Time (HOT) to your direct heals and their multistrikes.
Versatility is a straight up add to your damage, healing, and your damage reduction. It doesn’t add a lot, hence the low value.
In-Depth Ability/Rotation Guide
- Chakra: Sanctuary is the ideal healing Chakra for most situations as it grants you significant raid healing capabilities while allowing you to still perform quite well in single target healing.
- If you happen to be relegated solely to single target healing duties such as on a tank then switch to Chakra: Serenity instead.
- Holy Word: Serenity is an instant cast heal with a 15 second cooldown that also buffs the target granting your healing spells a 25% increased critical chance when cast on them for 6 seconds.
- Power Word: Shield is weaker for Holy Priests than Discipline and you should avoid using it if a Discipline priest is in the raid as the Weakened Soul debuff will prevent them from applying their own Power Word: Shield to the target.
Our basic healing spell is Heal which has a very low mana cost but a moderate cast time and healing effect. Use this as much as possible to conserve mana.
- Apply Renew to anyone in need of minor healing or you anticipate taking damage in the near future.
- Prayer of Mending should be applied to a target at all times as it will jump to other players as they take damage.
- Holy Word: Sanctuary should be placed where it will be most effective, ideally where the most players are stacked.
- Circle of Healing should be used on cooldown whenever multiple players have taken damage and are within range of the healing effect.
- Greater Heal is a slower, higher mana cost heal used for periods of heavy damage.
- Flash Heal is quick and heals for a large amount but costs an exorbitant amount of mana and should be avoided unless a target requires an emergency heal.
- Binding Heal heals both you and the target and should be used in the event that you need to heal yourself at the same time as someone else.
- Use Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending and Circle of Healing on cooldown when AoE healing is required.
- Guardian Spirit can be used on the tank or other target if they are in danger of dying. You should plan the use of this ability with your raid ahead of time.
- Lightwell should be active as often as possible to obtain maximum effect.
- Divine Hymn is a powerful raid healing tool that should be reserved for periods of high AoE damage.
- Shadowfiend should be used on cooldown for extra mana regeneration and a minor amount of DPS.
- Hymn of Hope is an important cooldown used to boost mana regeneration raid wide. This spell is channeled and therefore will prevent you from casting any other spells for the duration of the effect unless you choose to cancel it early.
Tier 3 Talented Abilities:
- From Darkness, Comes Light procs will allow you to instantly cast Flash Heal with no mana cost. The charges of this proc stack up to a maximum of 2 times and so should be used as often as possible to avoid wasting charges.
- Mindbender simply enhances your Shadowfiend.
- Power Word: Solace can be used for extra mana regeneration.
Tier 5 Talented Abilities:
- Twist of Fate is a passive effect that grants 15% increased healing and damage for 10 seconds after you damage or heal a target below 20% health.
- Power Infusion is a cooldown you should save for when immense healing is required, it also reduces the mana cost of your spells making them more efficient.
- Divine Insight procs have a chance to make your next Prayer of Mending not trigger a cooldown and instantly jump to each target, healing them.
Gems for Holy Priests
Gems with secondary stats have twice the value of those with primary stats, 320 Spirit Vs 160 Int, for example. This will make it worth your while to match socket bonuses, especially if they’re for Int or Spirit. If you can’t afford the gems you will need to improve your gold stash.
Up to Level 90 gear:
Your Priest bonus adds to any Int gem bonuses, making them worth 5% more Int. That bonus does not add to other stats.
If you need more Mana regen:
- Meta: Revitalizing Primal Diamond until you can get the Courageous Primal Diamond, which may remove the need to gem spirit.
- Red, belt buckle, and blacksmithing sockets: Purified Imperial Amethyst (purple gem)
- Yellow sockets: Energized Wild Jade (green gem)
- Blue sockets: Sparkling River’s Heart (blue gem)
When your mana regeneration is good then start gemming for Int/Haste or Int/Mastery
- Meta: Revitalizing Primal Diamond until you can get the Courageous Primal Diamond, which may remove the need to gem spirit.
- Red, belt buckle, and blacksmithing sockets: Brilliant Primordial Ruby
- Yellow: Reckless Vermilion Onyx (Int/Haste) or Artful Vermilion Onyx (Int/Mastery)
- Blue: Sparkling River’s Heart (Spirit) or Purified Imperial Amethyst (Int/Spirit)
Warlords of Draenor (Level 100) Gear
- Gems sockets have a (small) random chance to appear on Raid and other gear, they are not as common as before. There are no meta gems or meta sockets, there are no socket bonuses, and all sockets are “prismatic,” which means that they will take any available gem.
- The gem themselves are available. They are all prismatic, meaning they fit into any socket. None have Int, they all have secondary stats (Mastery, etc.)
- Older (Mists of Pandaria) gems work until item level 600, but the item squish cut them down a bit. What used to be 160 Int is now 10, for example. The new Prismatic gems are 50 points of Mastery or whatever.
- Older gems (Mists of Pandaria and lower) that used to code for Hit now do Crit, gems that had Expertise are now Haste.
- Gemming is easy: All gems should be for Multistrike.
|Gems for Warlords of Draenor|
|Prismatic||Greater Multistrike Taladite: +50 MultiStrike
Multistrike Taladite: +35 Multistrike
Greater Mastery Taladite: +50 Mastery
Mastery Taladite: +35 Mastery
Greater Haste Taladite: +50 Haste
Haste Taladite: +35 Haste
|Mists of Pandaria Gems, for gear under ilevel 600.|
|Meta||Courageous Primal Diamond: +20 Intellect and chance on beneficial spell to make your spells cost no mana for 4 sec.
Sinister Primal Diamond: +20 Critical Strike, and chance on spell damage to gain 30% spell haste
Capacitive Primal Diamond: +20 Critical Strike, and chance on melee or ranged hit to gain Capacitance
Burning Primal Diamond: +14 Int & 3% Increased Crit Effect
Ember Primal Diamond: +14 Intellect and +2% Maximum Mana
Revitalizing Primal Diamond: +27 Spirit & 3% Increased Crit Effect
|Red||Brilliant Primordial Ruby: 10 Int|
|Yellow||Quick Sun’s Radiance: +20 Haste
Fractured Sun’s Radiance: +20 Mastery
|Blue||Sparkling River’s Heart: +20 Spirit
Lightning Wild Jade: +10 Haste and +10 Crit
|Orange||Reckless Vermilion Onyx: 5 Int, 10 Haste
Artful Vermilion Onyx: +5 Int & +10 Mastery
|Green||Energized Wild Jade: +10 Haste, +10 Spirit
Zen Wild Jade: +10 Mastery, +10 Spirit
|Purple||Purified Imperial Amethyst: +5 Int, +10 Spirit|
|Cogwheel||Sparkling Tinker’s Gear: 38 Spirit – requires an engie helm, such as this.
Quick Tinker’s Gear: 38 Haste
Fractured Tinker’s Gear: 38 Mastery
Short on gold? If you want to buy the best enchants, fund all of your alts, donate to the guild, etc., but don’t have the cash, then see what the Tycoon Addon can do about about fixing your poverty.
Warlords Notes: There are no heady or body enchants, other enchants are only for items under items level 600. There are new enchants for Neck, Cloak, Weapons, and your Rings. Not for any other pieces. (Not yet, anyway.) Your Priestly armor bonus also adds to the Int gained from pre-Warlords enchants.
- Enchant for Crit
- Need Spirit? There is a Spirit weapon enchant.
|Warlords of Draenor Enchantments|
Main & Off-Hand
|Enchants for item levels below 600.|
|Shoulders||Greater Crane Wing Inscription: +15 Int and 5 Crit|
|Chest||Enchant Chest – Glorious Stats: +9 to all Stats
Enchant Chest – Mighty Spirit: +25 Spirit
|Bracers||Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect: +15 Int
Enchant Bracer – Mastery: +25 Mastery
|Gloves||Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery: +25 Mastery|
|Belt||Livingsteel Belt Buckle: Gem slot for a nice Int gem|
|Leggings||Greater Pearlescent Spellthread: +19 Int and +11 Spirit|
|Boots||Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step: +10 Mastery, slight run speed increase.
Enchant Boots – Greater Haste: +12 Haste
Consumables for Holy Priests
Note that Pandarens get twice the food buff. All food buffs last one hour. Alchemists get about 30% more effect and an extra hour from Flasks and Elixirs.
- Feast of Blood: 75 in highest secondary stat, feeds up to 30
- Feast of the Waters: 75 in highest secondary stat, feeds up to 10
- Calamari Crepes: 100 Multistrike
- Rylak Crepes: 75 Multistrike
- Fiery Calamari: 75 Multistrike
Elixirs: In Warlords there are no elixirs that give stats.
- Greater Draenic Intellect Flask: 250 Int for one hour
- Draenic Intellect Flask: 200 Int for one hour.
- Flask of the Warm Sun: 114 Int for an hour.
- Flask of Falling Leaves: 114 Spirit for an hour.
Potions: If you pop one immediately before combat you will be able to pop another during combat.
- Draenic Intellect Potion: 1,000 Int for 25 seconds
- Potion of the Jade Serpent: 456 Int for 25 seconds.
- Master Healing Potion: Heals 12k HP
- Master Mana Potion: About 6k Mana
Race Choices for Priests
Pandarens can be Priests, Orcs are the only race which cannot be priests. Big axes and berserk rages somehow disqualify one for the priesthood?
In Warlords all racial abilities for Hit or Expertise were slain in the night by assassins. Some new abilities have appeared. Every race now has something that will add a least a bit to your healing.
The best race choice is the one that you want to play. Your skills will far outshadow any of the racials. That said, here’s a rundown of the racial bonuses.
- Horde: Troll (Berserking, VooDoo Shuffle)
- Alliance: Human (Versatility, Escape, Rep gains); Draenei (Int gain)
Pandarens get to choose, once they leave the starting area, whether they will join Horde or Alliance.
- Can stun enemies with a strike of their hand. This can be useful to help get away from an opponent.
- Rested (as from an Inn) XP lasts longer, which is great for leveling. This will change to “same duration, but 2x XP gained” in 5.4, which amounts to the same thing.
- Increased benefits from food buffs will be nice for PvE content.
- Good at Cooking.
- Pandarens are Bouncy, so take less falling damage
Blood Elf – Not really any useful Priest abilities.
- Arcane Torrent restores some Mana and silences casting of opponents in melee range.
- Good with Enchanting
- +1% Crit
Goblin – Holy relics for sale! What? Of course they’re genuine! You calling me a con gob, bud?
- Rocket Jump is a nice escape or gap closer.
- 1% Haste is a nice stat for any Priest.
- Vendor Discounts are nice, but hardly ad to your healing totals. You also have a personal bank
- Good with Alchemy
Tauren – You have no interesting Priest specific abilities, but some wags might call you a “Care Cow.”
- War Stomp might have some use when mobs/melee get too close, allowing you to escape. More for PvP than PvE, but you still might find a use for it.
- Increased health isn’t increased by that much at high level, but is always nice.
- Good with Herbalism
- +2% Critical effect on heals and damage.
Troll – Good Priest choice and the best tusks anywhere.
- Berkerk is a nice spell casting speed increase. Don’t know yet if it stacks with the Power Infusion talent.
- increased XP gain Vs beasts, which is nice for leveling.
- Reduced duration of movement impairing effects has more PvP use than otherwise.
- Ranged weapon expertise is useless to you.
Undead – And you are…?
- Removing fear, charm, etc is a nice PvP ability and has some PvE use.
- Cannibalism means rarely having to pack food/water in your bags and is a nice “in your face” for PvP.
- Touch of the Grave occasionally drains life and heals you for the same amount. Your name will finally appear on the DPS meters.
- Indefinite Underwater Breathing might be of some use, somewhere.
- +1 to Hit helps with end-game gearing in PvE, but mostly for Shadow. As Holy you don’t have much use for Hit.
- The heal is redundant, for Holy and Discipline. Shadow might find some use for it.
- Bonus to Int.
Dwarf – No “short jokes” please.
- Stoneform removes bleeds and reduces damage by 10%
- Ranged weapon expertise is useless to you.
- Good with Archeology
- +2% Critical effect on heals and damage.
Human – The one, true Priest race.
- Increased Spirit helps with mana regen.
- Bonus to rep gains helps with faction grinding.
- PvP trinket ability allows use of two DPS/Healing trinkets in PvP and can break some PvE mechanics.
- Instead of Spirit you get Versatility.
Gnome – Mechanical Priests? Or just short?
- Can escape from speed altering effects, which has PvP use and situational PvE use.
- Increased mana pool is useful.
- Good with Engineering
- +1% Haste is nice.
- Shadowmeld has its uses in PvP and can drop aggro in PvE. Just that thing for those “oops!” moments.
- Being 2% harder to hit has more PvP/Tanking use than for PvE, you won’t have any use for it.
Worgen – “Oh my, Mr Priest. What big teeth you have…”
- 1% crit bonus is nice for heals or damage, thought it’s not your best stat.
- Sprint-like ability has its uses when movement is necessary.
- Good with Skinning
In Warlords there are no professions bonuses. No special stat boosts that characters without the profession cannot get. The only profession that provides a stat buff, to yourself or anyone else, is cooking (feasts will feed the raid for +75 to their best secondary stat, see Consumables, above, for more.)
Professions now are for the gear and/or the gold. Most have something that can be used as starting raid/pvp gear or sold, such as ilevel 640 gear pieces. Leveling a profession can be done quickly and relatively easily once you get the Draenor version.
Some of the professions, eg: Engineering, have really useful items for leveling and world events. They’re not usable in raids, however (sigh.. no firing rockets at the boss…)
|Blacksmithing||Mail and Plate armor and weapons. Keys for locks. Nothing for you.|
|Engineering||has lots of interesting toys, some of which have situational use. Rockets, bombs, gliders, and more.|
|Jewelcrafting||Useful rings and neck items, pretty gems, gemmed mounts.|
|Inscription||Glyphs, some trinkets, caster weapons, fortune & Darkmoon cards, and more.|
|Alchemy||Chemistry is fun, unfortunately you can’t make acids or bombs. You can make flasks and potions to boost stats and cause other interesting effects.|
|Enchanting||Enchant all those items and cast illusionary enchants.|
|Tailoring||Cloth armor (starting raid gear,) flying carpet, murlock chew toy.|
|Leatherworking||Leather and mail armor, nothing to see here.|
|Skinning||For gold gathering and for leatherworking|
|Herbalism||For Inscription, Alchemy, and gold gathering|
|Mining||Making gold and powering Blacksmithing and some engineering.|
The Easy Priest Leveling Guide
Leveling your Holy Priest or any other Priest build doesn’t have to be an exercise in frustration, even with the zillions of quests and regardless of whether you were playing Vanilla WoW (1 to 60) or Cataclysm (to 85) Mists of Pandara (to level 90) or whatever comes next.
What’s the easy way to hit the level cap? Dugi’s Guide:
Dugi’s comes in the form of a small in-game window which sows you your current quests and goals. Everything you need to know is contained within the guide and is displayed for you and everything is updated as you complete quests. You’ll always have an arrow pointing the way and you’ll never wonder where to go or what to do next, even if you just gained a few levels in the BGs or Dungeons.
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