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Priest PvE guide

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Things Healing Priests want Non-Priests to know

  • In a party environment, especially in an instance, each person contributes to the welfare of the group, and its success. The healer is the most critical player to prevent the group from wiping. The priest is one of the weakest classes, wearing cloth and often with very low HP, and as such will die extremely quickly should they take aggro of a mob.
  • Healing does generate a lot of threat, so the healer must be protected. If the Priest draws aggro, all priority should be on saving them from taking damage as they must continually heal themselves, generating more threat and being unable to heal the party. This quickly will spiral downwards and generally lead to a wipe. DPS classes can save the priest by using Crowd Control (CC) or a Taunt if they are able. Fear is usually not an acceptable method of saving anyone, as that can easily aggro more mobs and lead to a wipe.
  • You may not always receive a heal and the healer may let you die. This is not necessarily the sign of a bad healer, as it may have been a wise decision. There may be several reasons for this:
There is too much damage. Sometimes it's literally not possible to keep everyone alive, if too many mobs are pulled or the enemies are too hard. The healer must always prioritise the tank's life and their own life if keeping everyone up is not possible.
The healer is running oom, or needs to conserve mana for a long fight. In this situation, heal or bandage yourself!
If you have generated too much threat and peeled aggro from the tank, you shouldn't expect heals. It may be dangerous for the healer to heal you, at the risk of taking aggro from you. Heals are high threat, and not having the mitigation of the tank, you take considerably more damage. A good healer with experience and the whole party's welfare in interest, will not heal you until you lose aggro of the mob, even if it means letting you die!
  • Priests cannot resurrect anybody during combat. That power belongs to Druids and Shaman.
  • Always ensure the Priest has enough mana before the next fight. The healer should not have to mention that they require to drink. Be aware of the whole party's status; this includes all of the party's health and mana, and location, and should not progress until the whole party is ready. If Mana Potions drop, and you have no use for them, offer them to the healer.
  • Try to always remain in Line of Sight (LoS). This should include remaining behind the tank until a pull is complete. If you are out of LoS, and the healing is heavy enough that they don't have time to move, do not expect a heal. It simply isn't possible, and this is as much your responsibility as it is the healers.
  • Not all priests are holy. Do not assume such. Many healing priests are discipline specced. Most shadow priests are used to being mistaken for healers, especially in the lower levels before Shadowform. Make sure beforehand to ask which spec they are, since many shadow priests are DPS focused, making them either ill-equipped, ill-trained, or just not eager to act as healers. If the player is willing, however, a decently-equipped priest of any spec can main-heal 5-man dungeons through at least level 70. Short version: Ask, don't assume.
  • Your Pet's health is your responsibility. Do not expect any healer to heal it, unless it is tanking. If the healer does heal your pet, thank them for it.
  • If a Shackle pops up on an undead mob you just started fighting, leave it alone. Shackle is a form of Crowd Control, but it will break if the mob takes any damage. Don't do it.
  • Warlocks: Life Tapping to within an inch of your life is generally not a good idea. Don't expect your healer to come to your aid immediately. If they have no mana, don't be rude, sit down, drink and/or eat. Life tapping multiple times immediately prior to a fight is the worst thing you can do (once is more than sufficient to gain the buff from Glyph of Life Tap), don't expect a heal, and if you die, its your own fault.
  • Please bring food and/or bandages to an instance run. Use that in between fights - please don't ask the healer to top you off. Healing is such a busy job that the healer probably needs more of a break than you do.
  • Healing is often a pretty stressful and thankless job, the kind nobody notices until you screw up. If you think your healer is doing a good job you should let him/her know it!

Things DPS Priests (Discipline and Shadow) want Non-Priests to know

  • Mind Control is fantastic Crowd Control(CC) when used in the correct situation, but it generates a LOT of threat. Please be ready to pick it up and kill it immediately when it breaks.
  • The Shadow Priest, is capable of healing almost all normal 5 man dungeons up until the late 70's. Many priests will carry two sets of gear, one for healing, one for leveling. (This has a reduced importance thanks to the WotLK spell power homogenization) However, our healing is not nearly as efficient or effective as a healing specced/geared priest. However, problems DO come into play when Shadow priest tries to heal a non-protection spec tank.
  • Shadow is a very strong DPS, and can give several unique buffs to the group.
  • Having a Shadow Priest in the party will make any healer's job much easier. With Vampiric Embrace up, any direct damage or damage over time spell the Shadow Priest uses will heal the entire party for a percentage of that amount - this is like constantly casting renew on the rest of the party.

Things Non-Priests want Priests to know

  • When you draw aggro of the mob, either do NOT move, or run to the tank. NEVER run away, or around in circles.
  • Remember to dispel! Quite often it IS more important than healing!
  • Don't use offensive spells in instances unless you know how to prioritise. Once you're comfortable knowing when situations allow for you to dps you can gradually work in more offensive gameplay as you learn what the safe limit is for your group. Expect to be yelled at by group members if you drop the ball because you were dpsing earlier, causing you to go oom when heals are needed or simply not healing because you were dpsing instead.
  • Never stand in melee range, EVER. Melee range is dangerous, and very ugly. Whenever it is safe to do so, remain at maximum range. Mobs do Whirlwind.
  • Warlocks may prefer an efficient Renew over a straight heal because of the dynamics of Life Tap. With Renew, a warlock has the chance to have near-full life and mana.
  • Don't Mind Control mobs unless told to. It can be very confusing and annoying for the tank to be trying to build threat on a target that suddenly turns friendly. On top of this, you're putting yourself in unnecessary danger because of the high threat it creates.

Things Priests want new Priests to know

Healing

  • There is no possible way that you will be able to keep everyone alive all the time. Just remember that healing priority is: 1) Main Tank, 2) yourself (you are the healer, you keep the group from dying), 3) crowd controllers, 4) everyone else.
  • Always wait until the tank builds threat on ALL mobs nearby. If he runs into a pack and does not hit them with an AoE, the first heal will likely peel all the mobs on you, usually causing your quick death followed by the death of everyone else if not countered early enough. In these situations, your best options are to use PW:Shield and Fade. If the tank hasn't recovered by then, it's likely that no amount of tricks would have saved you.
  • You need to know when to let someone die. This may sound cruel, mean, or unnecessary, but is an extremely important skill to have, especially starting into heroics where you can die from 1 or 2 hits. If someone repeatedly peels from the tank, their first action should be stop DPS and drop aggro. Heal them, but if they continue to DPS without trying to lose the mobs, stop healing them so you can focus on the welfare of the rest of the group. If they are the kind of person who repeatedly fails to avoid environmental hazards, such as standing in fire, you may be wasting your mana.
  • Do NOT use Psychic Scream in an Instance!: Fear is one of the most common causes of player-caused wipes in the game.
  • If you have something urgent to say, use raid warning (/rw). Party chat, emotes, and say are generally ignored during fights.
  • When in an instance do not attempt to DPS. It wastes your mana, and it's not your job! Wanding is an option if everyone's health is stable, but the first shot activates your global cooldown so it's generally not recommended. Even when healing is very easy, and you feel it is safe to help DPS, be aware that you may get stuck waiting for a whole global cooldown (1.5 seconds). Take this delay into account if you wish to help DPS.
  • If the group wipes, it's not always your fault. Other party members may find it easy to blame the healer rather than look at their own mistakes. Stay aware of the situation, research bosses in advance, and communicate with your group. Ask them to check their combat log if they don't know what killed them.

Shadow

  • If you are intending on speccing Shadow, get used to being asked to heal. If you feel you can't or shouldn't be expected to heal, let your group know so they don't expect it. However, you are likely to get more invites to instances if you can heal, and at lower levels you don't need any healing talents to be an effective healer.
  • Just because you have the spells, doesnt mean you have to use them. Shadow Word: Pain and Devouring Plague are both very powerful DoTs but you need not cast it on every mob that comes up (Unless you need mana with the Glyph of Shadow Word: Pain). Most of the time, a mob will die quickly and you will have wasted your mana casting any of the two spells. They are mostly cast on bosses or mobs with really high health.
  • Always have the Vampiric Embrace self-buff up. If the healer is struggling, it will help out a little, and avoid use of Shadow Word: Death. It's not your job to heal, but in a sticky situation a Power Word: Shield will help. Be aware of the group's status, and if your healer dies you can heal to prevent a wipe.
  • Don't Mind Control mobs unless told to. It can be very confusing and annoying for the tank to be trying to build threat on a target that suddenly turns friendly. On top of this, you're putting yourself in unnecessary danger because of the high threat it creates.
  • Always remember to put up Vampiric Touch on bosses (or long fights on single mobs) to help your group. The moment it expires, renew it, and learn to include it in your typical rotation.
  • Vampiric Touch is not needed on short fights that only last a few seconds, the amount it will return, in comparison to mana you will spend, and possible DPS you lost by doing it does not make it worth it.

General Tips

Check the "Working With" pages for the different classes and look at the "What Xs want non-Xs to know". Always cast Power Word: Fortitude on your party members, it saves lives! Only cast Shadow Protection when its needed, it generally isn't. If unsure, ask.

Healing

  • Healing as a Holy Priest efficiently requires a bit of effort and practice. Read, learn and take criticism. It will help you become a better healer!
  • It is important to include Meditation in your chosen talents if you do not wish to run oom a lot. Read about the Five Second Rule to understand why.
  • Renew should be kept up on the tank(s) at all times. It is one of your more efficient heals. If a non-tank needs topped off, but is not in danger of dying, a Renew can be the best choice for this situation.
  • A Prayer of Mending or Power Word: Shield can be placed on a tank before pulling. Some healers will also put HoTs. However, remember that if you are in combat with a mob, this might cause you to get aggro. This is especially true with raid bosses where all members get in combat at the same time.
  • The efficiency and strength of PW:S varies greatly by the priest's spec. For instance, a Holy priest's PWS is not nearly as effective as that of a Discipline priest. This means that a Holy priest may save it for when a DPS gets aggro, but a Discipline priest may use the spell far more often. Note that using it will not trigger Spiritual Attunement on Paladins tanks, nor will warrior or druid tanks gain rage, until the shield effect wears off [edit: Warrior and Druid tanks now gain rage even while damage is being absorbed from the shield]. At higher levels, it is usually consumed with one hit on the tank. With good planning, though, it can be cast out of combat, waited till it hits more than 15 seconds while mana recharges, and utilised in combat. The strength of this method is a good chunk of additional 'HP' for the tank and no threat for the Priest, for an expense of additional mana, which may recharge before the first heal is needed.
  • Penance is the Discipline priest's strongest single-target heal. If you are deep enough in the Discipline tree to get it, you almost certainly want the Glyph of Penance, reducing it's cooldown by 2 sec. This spell is channeled however, so any damage will lower the amount healed by a great chunk. Aside from being extremely mana efficient, it also begins healing immediately, and so is a good tool for any spike damage that may occur.
  • Greater Heal is the Holy priest's largest single-target heal, but sometimes there simply isn't enough time to cast it. It should be used when the target is relatively low on health but is not in danger of dying within the next few seconds. For example, if a mob hits a clothie for significant damage before being picked up again by the tank, Greater Heal is usually the quickest way to go.
  • Binding Heal is ideal for sticky situations or when the group is taking a lot of damage. It is a powerful and fast heal, but only if the priest has also taken damage.
  • Take note of where Prayer of Mending lands. If it lands on a player who is unlikely to take damage, cast it again on the tank. If there's a lot of AoE damage, don't refresh it until it has run out of charges.
  • Fade whenever a mob is attacking you. You will lose all your threat for a short period of time, which can allow the tank to pick the mob back up. Healing increases threat with all the mobs you are in combat with, which means mobs the tank hasn't hit yet will come directly for you! Just be wary of the cooldown: if you are with an unskilled tank, you may want to save the cooldown if you're not in imminent danger.
  • Prayer of Healing can heal your friendly target's party for large amounts, but is only efficient if everyone in the party has lost a large amount of health. Circle of Healing on the other hand is a smart heal. It will heal the lowest health targets in range, and is perfect for topping the group or raid's health up or countering heavy AoE damage along with Prayer of Healing, although cannot be relied on exclusively due to its cooldown. If actually healing all 5 targets, it is an incredibly time and mana efficient heal.
  • Holy Nova has little use as a healing spell due to it's tiny range. It is a great AoE damage spell, as it produces no threat. It can be used to finish healing a group before pulling if some members are not completely topped or to AoE groups of non-elite mobs.
  • Dispel Magic and Abolish Disease: Using these spells goes along with being a healer, remember to watch for Debuffs, and be quick on getting rid of them (if required). For example, if a Rogue has been Silenced, there is no need to Dispel it. But if someone gets Polymorphed, you should be very quick on it, this also applies to Debuffs causing damage, better to get rid of them than heal through them. Usually just before a boss or mob does an offensive debuff they will quickly target the player about to receive it, then go back to the tank. Having a AddOn that shows you who has Aggro of a mob, and colors the player frames to suit Debuffs you can Dispel can increase your efficiency in this area a great deal!
  • Guardian Spirit is an invaluable life-saving spell, especially when combined with Glyph of Guardian Spirit. If you have the glyph, Guardian Spirit can be cast often on the tank, allowing you to heal other members without worrying about him dying. If by the time you come back at the tank his health has gone low, the 40% increase in healing will make it easier. In all cases, casting Guardian Spirit on a tank going down might avoid wiping the group.

There are very few class-specific tips that apply as a priest, and can easily be generalized into their primary roles.

Tanks

Tanks are generally Feral Druids, Protection Warriors, Protection Paladins or Death Knights.

  • Healing the tank is your main priority.
  • Renew is your most efficient heal. Keep it on the tank at all times, it smoothens out the damage they take, and gives you more time to focus heals on other party members if needed.


Healers

Healers are generally Discipline Priests, Holy Priests, Restoration Shamans, Restoration Druids, or Holy Paladins.

It is rare you should be grouped with another healer except in a raid environment. Know how other healing classes work, and accommodate each classes strengths and weaknesses.

Damage Dealing Classes

All classes can DPS, and each class has valuable buffs to give to your party.

There is several reasons a DPS class will take damage.

  • Unavoidable Raid/Party Damage: for example, an instant AoE, or random targeted party member, always be ready for this, and to heal through it.
  • Avoidable Raid/Party Damage: for example, an AoE that has a 2 second cast, plenty of time to get out of. Be ready to heal through this, but be sure to let them know if they didn't move. If they die, its their fault, don't feel bad. Do NOT heal them through it if it means your going to run low on mana for the remainder of the fight.
  • Early Attack: First to receive damage, do not heal them, they are not the tank, and no-one should deal any offensive attacks or spells at mobs until the tank has sufficient threat. Healing them will likely cause you to peel from them, and it will turn out extremely ugly. Get onto them about it, it is not an acceptable way of playing, and you definitely do not have to keep them alive if they do it.
  • Peeled Threat, Main Target: This generally refers to if they have gained Aggro of the main DPS target from the tank, either by incorrectly using their skills, starting attack a little too early, or doing more DPS than the tank can hold. Again, this is their error, but it does happen, and not always intentionally. Quickly try to heal them, but only a couple heals is ever necessary. The first thing they should do is stop DPS, if they don't, this is one of those times you let them die, but give them the benefit of the doubt initially. Some classes, such as Warlocks will keep generating threat from DoT's even if they do stop all attacking after peeling. Try to keep them up through it. If they peel again, get onto them about it.
  • Peeled Threat, Off Target: This refers to when the DPS was attacking the wrong mob. Tell them, make sure they don't do it again. Heal them, but not more than twice, if this is in a Heroic, or a place where a mob can kill you in only a few hits, do not heal them at all. This is a very dangerous situation caused purely by them. Any healing you do, generates a lot of threat, and that mob will likely run at you. If they die regardless of your best efforts, you will be the next the mob runs to, so not only have you wasted your mana, you've put yourself in a life threatening situation, and most likely contributed to the inevitable wipe, which could have been avoided if you just let them die.
  • Crowd Control gone bad: Help them, it happens, give them a Shield only if you think its safe, heal them up again after it is CC'd. if its a Hunter, be very wary of healing them, they can, and probably will Feign Death, the mob would then run at you if you had healed them. Remember that its probably not their fault, but its not always the best thing to heal them immediately. Only experience of the mob and instance will help you know what is best to do.


General DPS Tips

Check the "Working With" pages for the different classes and look at the "What Xs want non-Xs to know". Always cast Power Word: Fortitude (or better) on your party members, it saves lives! Only cast Shadow Protection when its needed, it generally isn't. If unsure, ask.

  • Dispel Magic is often the job of whoever is available that can do it, only Paladins and Priests can remove Magic Debuffs, so if you're the only one of these classes in the group, or the Paladin is the tank, it will be automatically expected that you can do this, and do this efficiently.
  • Not everyone can play their class, and some people also suffer from lag. Don't hesitate to pick up other players' slack: it will be greatly appreciated by the Debuffed and could make the difference between a wipe, and a clean kill.
  • Remember, Just because you are DPS, doesn't mean you can't help Dispel Magic or heal if things go bad or the healer is in trouble, even though these cases are very rare, you should be prepared to step in and help just in case.
  • Remember to use all your spells correctly, while in shadow form you should not touch any holy spells. You should have a rotation so that as soon as a cooldown is over you have just finished your last spell, and can use it again.
  • Shadow Word: Death is very high DPS, but beware the damage you take: if the healer can't, or won't heal you for self inflicted damage, it may be best not to use it unless you have Vampiric Embrace up.
  • Even if there is a holy priest in the group, you will be the first priest expected to be used for CC. Get good with Shackle Undead; it's a rare skill to use, but as with any other CC, is important. Mind Control is used more often, simply because it is more flexible with what you can CC. Remember it's massive threat, so don't break it until until everyone is ready. Also while controlling it, if there are any buffs it has you can give the party, be sure to do it. If it breaks early, immediately Power Word: Shield yourself. It is too much threat for Fade to lose, so there's not much you can do except let people know in raid warning (/rw) and hope it gets picked up or killed before you die.

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