[WoW] Grouping and Priests

So I’m leveling a Dwarven Priest alt because at 32 on my Rogue I’m realizing that it’s very hard to build a good pickup group. I tried a few impromptu Gnomeregan runs and got wiped repeatedly due to no-shield tanks and no-heal priests.

I’m starting to agree that it’s impossible to have a good group without tanking, healing, and rezzing. DPS and CC are pretty much gimmes with a random assortment of 5 characters. Since Priests are super scarce on this server and Paladins generally don’t invest in shields or healing spells, I keep getting into 4 man groups looking for a Priest.

So now I’m a Priest. I can anchor a pickup group, just give me a tank and 3 random noobs and I’m ready to go.

First thoughts on leveling to 9:

Wow, wands are great. My Druid, Rogue, and Warrior never had it so good. At level 5 I get a crafted wand with 11 DPS, how great is that?

I’m soloing my way up to, I dunno, the mid-late teens where I’ll pick up a Deadmines group or three. Looks like Shadow is the spec line of choice for solo leveling, but some VNBoards holdouts insist on Discipline as being almost as good and much more group-friendly.

Any help from priest-loving altoholics? I’m not really interested in end-game specs or advice, just ideas on how to enjoy my priest in the early to mid game.

I rolled two priests, one all holy and one all shadow. The holy guy got pretty annoying to solo but in groups he was occasionally appreciated. (Once when we almost wiped on Mograine in SM, and my Spirit of Redemption saved the day, another party member crowed about how much he loved holy priests.)

I started to really enjoy soloing my shadow priest toward the end (got him up to 30). I went with mindflay, shadow vulnerability, and shadow reach (or whatever the talent is called that increases shadow spell range by 20%). My general approach against outdoors mobs was to pull with Mindblast, throw on Shadow Word Pain, then flay 'em until they get close to me – then fear and flay some more. With shadow reach maxed you can get in a lot of flaying both coming and going. When everything clicks properly you can pretty much kill them without ever getting touched, and you don’t even have to pop your shield.

I don’t know if it’s the fastest sort of soloing, but I enjoyed the mechanics of it. If the fear didn’t go off or if they resisted something, I could just pop my shield and blast away with Mindblast and Mindflay at close range.

I have no experience with the Disc tree… my shadow priest was 100% shadow and my holy only had 5 talents in Shadow for Spirit Tap.

At this point (pre 1.10) it’s almost absurd to go anything other than shadow (or at the very least get spirit tap), for the first 40-ish levels, especially when the difference in healing power is so minimal until then.

I have levelled a dwarven shadow priest up to lvl 45. Whilst I am mostly shadow I have put some points into Discipline. You will also want to put points into PW:F and PW:S. I have acted as a group healer for 5-man raids. As a shadow priest you will burn through mana quicker as a healer but as long as you have a mage who can make water you should be ok.

For end game instances at 60 you will eventually want to respec into Discipline and Holy as most groups will not want shadow priests. If you wish to only PvP then stay shadow.

Many priests use this webpage as a levelling guide.

What James said. Disc might provide you with a relatively minor boost in healing, but Shadow will be a huge asset to soloing. You’ll probably want ten points in Disc for Improved Power Word: Shield and Fort, but the rest can go into the Shadow tree.

Here’s an example. You get excellent soloing ability, and some decent group utility with the Disc stuff and Silence (which rules against casters in both PvE and PvP). Also, Spookyform at 40!

Bottom line is that yes, a Disc or Holy priest heals better than a Shadow priest. However, even if you don’t assign a single talent point you’re still more than capable of healing groups through any instance, and switching to a healing build only really becomes attractive around 50-60, IMO.

I am confident in my ability to keep a group up without points in Holy. I did it on a Druid without resto, I can do it on a Priest.

I imagine I’ll go with a Shadow/Disc hybrid and then respec at 40 to shadowform.

Shadow is just so disgustingly effective for soloing that it doesn’t make any sense to go with anything else until you hit 60. My level 59 priest alt has a full set of fel gear (+shadow damage) and can melt the face of any mob that looks his way.

Yes, I was a holy/disc priest until 51. I was thinking the trees were balanced, so they would be different but equally valuable for grouping and soloing. Then I got tired of having to really work every fight with mobs 1-2 levels higher than me, sit down and recharge mana after most fights, etc.

So I respecced shadow. Holy crap, you just burn through things as a shadow priest. Cast the mind blast from a distance, then drain him a few times as he starts running toward you, cast whatever it is that heals you with the same spells you’re killing him with, throw on the DoT, it’s great. So many different ways to kill (my favorite is rapidly draining mobs with the channeled spell while power shielded). Methods of killing cool down faster, last longer, have better range, etc.

I wish they would rebalance holy/disc so it was more what I thought it would be for soloers; maybe the fight lasts a bit longer, but you have more stamina and last longer yourself. For example, I could see the healing power of holy mean that while you can not kill individual mobs as quickly, you have a better chance of keeping yourself alive and wearing down multiple mobs.

But it doesn’t seem to work that way. Shadow priests just burn down the extra adds until there is only one left; holy priests just get beat down.

If you want to be a priest and are using this as a justification, that’s fine. However, if you want to be useful in a group no matter what, why aren’t you working on your druid? If the group needs a tank… druid. If the group needs a healer… druid. If you have both, err… druid.

That’s what they’re made for. Really.

I thought the clergy was against polygamy as much as it was gay marriage?

Finally, a WoW thread on my speciality. Here’s my priest: http://www.wowguru.com/db/chars/malphul-id196696/ (mostly in healing gear).

Holy is currently near useless, the real decision is between:
Primarily Shadow with some Disc
Primarily disc with a little Holy

There is no reason whatsoever to be anything but 31 shadow (I’d put the other 20 in disc) before you hit the 40 man raids. Not only is shadow the best for solo, it also has the best aggro talent available to priests (improved fade), and better utility for 5 man instances (silence in particular).

If you start doing the 40 man raids, you can consider going to a disc/holy build, but only if you want to gimp yourself PvP and solo.

I wish they would rebalance holy/disc

The next patch (1.10) is scheduled to include a Priest talent revamp.

Different server. Druids have a crap rez for PvE. The druid is 51, I loved leveling him, but that server’s a dead end. And a main healer with a 30 minute rez timer means you have to find a real rezzer to tag along unless you trust your entire group not to fuck up. Plus, no wands!

Are you sure you’d put the extra 20 points into discipline? I mean, I never really get doing that. Putting points in there can be nice, but I’d much rather pick up essentials and dump the rest in shadow.

I haven’t even touched a shadow priest, but before I quit I was a 34/17 disc/holy split. I much more prefer getting all the goodies in the shadow tree (there’s a lot!) than getting minor benefits like 10% more mana or whatever else is there.

I like to pretend, that extra damage and lower resists on your spells will help you more than that extra mmph from discipline. Specifically with vampiric embrace in play.

I’ll probably get stoned for saying this, but I don’t think shadow reach is all that great. I’d much rather max out the damage and ability cooldown aspects of the tree. In PvE I can see an arguement for shadow reach being a really great thing, but you have to consider what you’re giving up for that. I’d much rather have the extra damage and utility. In PvP players are all over me anyways. Range isn’t much of an issue. In PvE They’re mostly over me, it just helps me line up my initial attack for maybe an extra flay?

I don’t have any real evidence or anything, but I’m fairly convinced it’s not worth it.

Other things I don’t think are worth it: A buff to PW:F if you’re a shadow priest. I mean, it’s 2 valuable points for 162 extra health, or something paltry like that. In PvP you don’t get to use it that effectively in the BGs, and in instances 162 health isn’t really a deal breaker unless you’re applying it over a larger body of players. Chances are, in that situation, there’s another priest with it, and it only really affects the tanks who need every scrap of health they can muster.

Improved Shadow Word Pain seems silly to me as well. Do targets ever live long enough for that to be worthwhile? I’d much rather cash in on blackout and shadow focus than bother with it. And even then, I want Improved mindblast 5/5 over other things when I look at the next tier. I just don’t really see it comparing to any other of the humongous ability benefits in the tree.

This is probably what I’d spec if I re-subscribed. The only wishy washy point is improved fade, but I do think that’s worthwhile for personal safety with mediocre tanks. I’m curious to see what everyone else has constructed. I don’t think discipline is worth touching until you get all of shadow ironed out. It’s pure winning with the damage, and shields and all the other disc stuff just seem like PvP necessities to me, more than a PvE boost (for the solo priest). Remember, the more damage you do per spell cast also means that spell becomes more mana efficient. That’s hot.

I’ll give you the no wands… never much had a rez issue though.

It’s obviously nice to have an insurance rezzer. Sure, in an ideal universe, you will heal well enough that you won’t have to rez more than once per half hour. But suppose you have a tough pull and 2 people die. With only a druid in the party, someone’s doing a corpse run. Obviously if you can have a shammy or pally along as a backup rezzer it’s no longer an issue. But I certainly see where Stroker is coming from.

I just finished getting my second priest to 60. It was nice to know exactly what I wanted to do. I was 10-0-41 for leveling/grinding rep until a couple days ago, now I’m 34-17-0 for raiding.

Glad to hear your priest is a dwarf. If anyone has a low-level priest that is not dwarf or undead, reroll immediately. The only excuse for not being a dwarf on the Alliance side is if you are an enchanter, and want the human faction bonus. You’ll still wish you had Fear Ward, though. My first priest is a NE, and her racial abilities are basically useless.

Like others have said, Shadow is the key in the mid-game, but I think Disc is also important early on. I usually put the first five talent points into Spirit Tap, then the next eight go to getting me Improved PWS. Cutting the shield reuse time from 30 to 15 seconds is an enormous help. After that, the next six points go into Blackout & Mind Flay. Once you hit 40, respec pure Shadow so you can get Shadowform, then put the next points into Disc to get IPWS back. By level 48 you can have Shadowform, Mind Flay (clearly your most efficient damage spell), Shadow Weaving, and a 15-second shield. This is where the “face melting” reputation comes from.

Holy is almost completely a waste of time. When we are trying out a new priest for the guild, if I see a Holy Nova go off, or a Spirit of Redemption pop up, they get a thumbs-down from me. Priest talents are generally so lame that I never know what to do with the last three points.

You’ll learn a new type of frustration with a low-level priest, because few new players understand aggro management. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve died in PUGs from one add or another beating the bejesus out of me. The rest of the party is usually complaining that I’m not healing while getting beaten on. The proper response is to silently leave the party and hearth out. Don’t bother explaining the problem, it is like dipping out the ocean with a spoon.

Last advice: When you do the level 50 class quest, take the Prayer Beads! Don’t take the ring, for goodness sake don’t take the wand. Prayer Beads! Prayer Beads! I still use them at 60, and they rock.

Here’s what they’ve had to say about the 1.10 changes so far, it isn’t much.
Click for blue post

Or if you don’t want to click, here is what they said:

With the Class Designers current focus directed towards improvements for the Priest, I wanted to take a moment and update you with the current list of items being reviewed to determine if an improvement is warranted. Keep in mind, this list is vague and not necessarily comprehensive of all upcoming changes. I plan to provide additional details over the course of the next couple of weeks. Feedback concerning your class under all elements of PvP and PvE has been collected and reviewed extensively.

Greater Heal
Inner Fire
All Three Talent Trees
Power Word: Shield
Priest Racial Abilities

It’s really depends on your goals. My priest has to wear a lot of hats:
-40 man raid healer
-AB/WSG group PvP healer/occasional DPSer
-Solo grinding and world pvp (world pvp is a love of mine, that’s why I have a whole +dam gear set, but I wouldn’t sacrifice my raid healing).

I do not do raid DPS. It is possible for a shadow priest spec’d for damage to top the damage meters on raids (seriously), but you have to really specialize. I like being a generalist.

10% mana beats improved renew, for example.

Disc also has Focused Casting which is the #1 PvP healing talent. And Unbreakable Will, Imp. Shield.

Other things I don’t think are worth it: A buff to PW:F if you’re a shadow priest. I mean, it’s 2 valuable points for 162 extra health, or something paltry like that. In PvP you don’t get to use it that effectively in the BGs, and in instances 162 health isn’t really a deal breaker unless you’re applying it over a larger body of players.

Aside from the fact it’s a must have for raiding, I try to PvP with organized groups, were the extra 162 health for everyone is definitely a noticable boost.

Improved Shadow Word Pain seems silly to me as well. Do targets ever live long enough for that to be worthwhile?

It’s useful PvE (soloing and on raid bosses to help out with DPS), and PvP for things like runners or keeping rogues from stealthing.

Glad to hear your priest is a dwarf. If anyone has a low-level priest that is not dwarf or undead, reroll immediately. The only excuse for not being a dwarf on the Alliance side is if you are an enchanter, and want the human faction bonus. You’ll still wish you had Fear Ward, though. My first priest is a NE, and her racial abilities are basically useless.

I’ve seen troll priests in high level guilds that were raiding MC and BWL. Have you seen situations where people actually bar entry to guilds based on race choice? Otherwise, I think being non-optimal is a viable option. Maybe you don’t want to stare at an undead’s bony ass for 250 hours. Maybe you like riding a raptor or a big cat. Honestly those, to me, are as good reasons for picking a race as anything else. My first main toons were a Tauren and a Gnome because I liked the way they looked. Later I rolled undead, troll, and night elf alts mainly so I could easily get a look at other noobie zones.

I get that the idea here is to spare someone future grief, but this high degree of minmaxyness is a bit offputting to me. I remember some noobie troll priest on Barrens chat a while back who put up a message and some knowitall 60 fired back “Why are you a troll?” As if it was that guy’s business… as if Blizzard didn’t put that as a playable race in the damn game.

If it’s just a question of getting a toon to 60 (especially on carebear), then it’s so easily done that it doesn’t really matter that much which race you choose. As for world pvp, I’d think a priest would generally worry more about the other guy breaking fear rather than his own ability to do it. Sure the lack of WOFT/Fear Ward would cost him some fights in the course of the game, but “nonoptimal” isn’t the same as “unplayable.”

Are there certain big endgame raid/boss fights where lack of fear ward or WOTF is a gamebreaker? If so, a big raspberry to Blizz. If not, a big raspberry to guilds that would give people crap about it.

Some people get really into the min/maxing.

I play a troll, mostly because I like being a little different. I was aware at launch that it had weak racials. Really, Will of the Forsaken is the only part that hurts. It’s not really much of hinderance otherwise. I do wish shadowguard wasn’t bugged, and actually worked like it should with blackout and shadowweaving. That would make it actually worth casting.

I’m still holding out hope they follow through with fixing the other priest racials. Heck, berserk is actually useful now, and I never thought that would happen.

Good answers everyone! I’m still thinking about specs, luckily I’m just now level 12 so I have a while to think.