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How to Heal as a Holy Priest in World of Warcraft (Updated for Mists of Pandaria)
*All information in this hub is reflective on healing with the new talents from patch 5.0 while still 85 – Since MoP hasn't released yet, and I didn't play on the beta, I don’t have information on healing at level 90. Once I hit level 90 on this character, I will update this hub accordingly with any changes that have been made. Also remember that the game changes a lot and this information is subject to change. I will keep this as updated as possible as new things are implemented. Thanks!*
So, with the new updates to World of Warcraft with the Mists of Pandaria patch you may be wondering how to play as a healing Priest, and what has changed.
In this guide I will be going over a lot of different things, not only the changes. This guide is suited for people who are just starting out with healing, but veteran healers may find this guide useful if they find the new changes confusing. Keep in mind I may not point out that a certain thing has changed, to keep the simplicity down. I don’t want to confuse any new players by mentioning old tactics that don’t even matter anymore.
Important Note: Please refer to my two previous hubs on healing: http://missa72542.hubpages.com/hub/Healing-in-WoW and http://missa72542.hubpages.com/hub/Healing-In-WoW-In-Depth to get a better understanding on healing in World of Warcraft. The following hub will give you detailed information on the spells, talents and benefits of each specific class. The hubs I just linked are the ones you want to look at for advice on healing in general.
Disc healing Hub should be out soon..
First off, what has changed about the game in general…?
Since the patch on September 28th, World of Warcraft has changed, a lot. LFR has a change in how loot rolls work, new talents have been implemented, and many old talents have been switched into being learned automatically by choosing that particular spec. Some spells were taken out, and some were added in. Read up on the patch notes on Blizzards website to see a full list of changes to the game.
What spec should I go as a healing priest?
There are two different healing specs for priests. One is called Holy, the other called Discipline. Both are great healing specs and there isn’t a right or a wrong way to go. I personally enjoy Disc the most, but will probably be playing both in MoP because of the changes to lightwell. See below under the Spells section to see what I mean.
In this guide I will not tell you what you should and should not spec into, I will not tell you exactly how to play as a priest. I am just going to go over everything that you can choose from and what I think is the best option. In the end it is up to you what you go with, especially for the talents.
This hub is for holy.
Holy: The holy spec is more based around HoTs and quick heals, while disc is more focused on shields and cast time heals.
What spells are available for Holy?
Please keep in mind that even though I am listing spells, these are not the only spells available for priests. I am just listing the ones that are an important part of healing for a Holy priest.
Healing Spells: Binding Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Heal, Power Word: Shield, Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Renew, Lightwell, Holy Word Sanctuary, Holy Word Serenity, Circle of Healing
Buffs: Inner Fire, Inner Focus, Inner Will, Power Infusion (talent), Power Word: Fortitude
Cool-downs: Fade, Divine Hymn, Guardian Spirit
Mana regen spells: Hymn of Hope, Shadowfiend
Damage spell: Holy Fire, Smite. Holy word chastise
Utility spells: Leap of Faith, Mass Dispel, Purify, Resurrection,
In the following paragraphs I will go into depth on each spell, informing you of what it does and when to use it. If you are already familiar with these spells, scroll down to my next paragraph.
The Healing Spells
These spells are just as titled; spells that are used to heal players.
Binding Heal – Heals someone else and you at the same time. This spell costs a lot of mana, and frankly I don’t think I’ve ever used it since level 70.
Flash heal, Greater Heal, and Heal- All of these spells have the same effect, they heal one person. The different is the mana cost, the amount healed, and how fast the spell is cast.
-- Flash heal is the fastest, and costs the most mana. Use only when a player is facing death and you must heal them quickly.
-- Greater Heal takes a while to cast and costs the same amount of mana as Flash Heal, but heals for much more. Use this for big chunks of damage, when the player can afford to wait until you are finished casting.
--Heal takes the same amount of time as Greater Heal, but uses much less mana, and heals for a lot less. This is the spell that you would normally cast to heal moderate damage.
Power Word Shield- Instant cast spell with a high mana cost. This spell isn’t as important for Holy, because it doesn’t give you mana back when it gets absorbed. Use this spell ONLY when a player is facing death and your shield will help them survive. But also remember that in Holy your shield doesn’t absorb as much so it might not be worth casting anyway.
Prayer of healing – Moderate mana cost healing spell with a moderate cast time. This spell will heal everyone within your targets group. Meaning, if you target yourself and cast Prayer of Healing, everyone in your group will be healed, up to 5 people, and as long as they are in range of you. This is best cast when 3 or more people in a group are taking a considerable amount of damage.
Prayer of mending- Low mana cost and is an instant cast. When a player has Prayer of Mending on them, the next time they take damage, a certain amount is healed to them, bouncing to a nearby party member, bouncing up to 5 times. This spell is best used when you know that your party members are going to be taking damage.
Renew- Low mana cost, instant cast spell. This can be cast on as many players as you wish, and it is a HoT, heal over time. It heals for a certain amount every few seconds. This is a very strong spell for Holy, and should be used a lot. It doesn’t cost very much mana at all, so you should keep it rolling on your tank at all times, and anyone else who isn’t in immediate danger.
Circle of Healing- Instant cast spell that will heal 5 of the most injured nearby party members. Low mana cost and should be kept on cooldown when healing multiple people at once.
Lightwell- Sets down a light well that, when un-glyphed, players can click on to receive healing. The Lightwell lasts for 3 minutes or until all charges are taken away.
With the changes in Mists of Pandaria, I very highly recommend getting the glyph “Lightspring” This will make it so that your lightwell will heal automatically! You do not have to worry about players wasting charges or not using it when they need to. Every 1 second the lightwell will look for someone below 70% health to heal and if possible will heal. If no one is in range or everyone is above 70% health, it will wait until someone is low enough.
There is a spell in your spell book called Chakra. When it’s clicked it will provide 3 new spells for you to click on: Holy word Chastise, Sanctuary and Serenity. Chastise is a DPS spell while the others are healing.
Holy word: Sanctuary- When in the Sanctuary aura, all of your area of effect heals are increased by 15% and reduces the cooldown of your circle of healing by 2 seconds.
It also allows you to set down a healing ring on the ground. When players stand in this circle they are healed every couple seconds for 30 seconds.
Holy Word: Serenity- When in the Serenity aura, your single target heals are increased by 15% and refreshes the duration of Renew on your target.
It also transforms your Holy Word into an instant cast heal that heals for a nice amount and increases the critical effect chance of your healing spells on him by 25% for 7 seconds. It has a 15 second cool down.
Buffs are spells that are used to increase a stat to a player to improve their performance.
Inner Fire and Inner Will: Both of these are self-buffs, and only one or the other can be used at a time. Inner fire increases your armor value and your spell power by a certain percent. Inner will reduces the mana cost of your instant cast spells by a certain percent and your movement speed.
--Use Inner Fire for the most part, and only use Inner Will if you find yourself in the need to spam instant cast spells.
Power Infusion- is an instant cast, self buff that is on a 2 minute cooldown. This spell increases your casting speed by 20% lasting for 20 seconds. This is also a TALENT spell. You have to spec into it to get it. I will go over other talents later.
Power Word: Fortitude- increases the Stamina of everyone in your party for 60 minutes.
These are spells that have a cool-down, where you have to wait a certain amount of time to be able to cast it again.
Fade- Is an instant cast spell that automatically drops all aggro you have, so that the mobs will attack someone else. It is on a 30 second cool down. This is a good spell to use when your tank, for whatever reason, doesn’t have aggro on a mob and you do. To keep yourself from dying, cast Fade.
Divine Hymn- When cast, Diving Hymn heals 5 of the most injured nearby party members and increases healing done to them by 10%. You must channel this spell to keep it active. This is a very useful cooldown and should be used when the group as a whole is taking a lot of damage.
Guardian Spirit- Can be cast on 1 target every 3 minutes. The spirit increases healing done to the target by 60% and prevents the target from dying while the spirit is on them. The spirit lasts for 10 seconds. This spell is best cast when a very important party member is very near death. That means, don’t cast it on a DPS that you can live without, save it for a healer or a tank.
Mana Regeneration spells
Spells that help you regenerate mana when cast. If you find yourself getting low on mana, then you should use these spells.
Hymn of Hope: This is a channeled spell. Meaning you have to maintain focus when casting and you can’t stop casting early, or move, because it will stop the spell and you won’t get the full effect. While channeling, Hymn of Hope restores 2% mana every 2 seconds (I’m pretty sure this is affected by haste) to 3 nearby low mana party members and increases their mana pool by 15% for 8 seconds.
--This is a great spell to use when you are low on mana and so are a few other people in your group.
Shadowfiend: This is an instant cast spell that summons a pet that attacks your target. Every time the shadowfiend attacks you gain 3% mana. This spell is best used alongside bloodlust/heroism to return more mana.
I’m having mana issues! Help, what do I do?! First off, are you using the above spells correctly? You should find a way to rotate these mana regeneration spells properly during boss fights. If a certain healing spell returns exactly 10% of your mana back, then consider using that spell when you are at about 80-85% mana, that way since you used it early enough, you may have it back in time to use it again before the fight is over.
If you still find yourself running out of mana then perhaps it’s time to evaluate yourself. Look at your gear; is there spirit on every single piece of gear? If not, then go to your reforger in your main city and change your stats so that spirit is on all pieces of gear. If you are unsure of where the reforger is, ask a guard!
You are using your mana regen spells properly, and you’ve reforged your gear, yet you are still having mana issues? It might be your gear, run lower difficulty dungeons until you get better gear, and then try the harder ones. However, you also might be using your healing spells wrong. You have to take into consideration that just because a spell heals for a lot, doesn’t mean that you should spam that spell. Try using only your low mana cost healing spells when your party members are not in danger, and the high cost healing spells when your party is in danger of dying.
Even though you are a healer, you can still do damage. And in some cases, doing damage can be an important part of healing.
Holy Fire and Smite: Both of these spells are just basic damaging spells. Holy Fire can be glyphed to be an instant cast, and when you have Holy Fire on a target, smite deals more damage.
Holy Word: Chastise – Stuns the target for a few seconds, and deals some damage. This would be a good spell in PvP because of the stun, but not so great in PvE. There are better Holy Word Available
My definition of utility spells is basically just spells that can’t be classified by any of my other categories, but still provides a helpful bonus to your gameplay.
Leap of Faith: When cast on a party member, that party member will be gripped from their current position, to you. This is a great spell, but some priests use it to grief other players, especially in Looking for Raid. I for one, only ever use this spell to grip someone out of harm’s way. Occasionally I might pick on my guild members with it though. Hehe.
Mass Dispel: an Area of effect spell that removes all harmful magic effects from players and beneficial effects from enemies within the raidius of the spell.
Resurrection: This spell brings a dead player back to life. It cannot be cast while in combat.
With the changes to talents in 5.0, there almost isn’t a right or wrong way to go with choosing which talents to go with. In this hub, I will go over most, if not all, talents and explain what they do along with which ones I personally think are the best of that tier.
You now are allowed to select one from 3 spells each talent tier, and a new tier becomes available every 5 levels, starting at level 15.
Note: The spells with a “+” In front of it are the spells that I chose, and the ones that I would recommend, but are not the ones that you should feel obligated to take. If you disagree with my preferences, by all means choose the talent you wish.
Level 15:These talents seem to revolve around crowd control, which would be very useful in PvP or occasionally PvE.
Void Tendrils: Summons a shadowy tendril rooting people in place for 20 seconds. I would have chosen this talent, but for whatever reason I cannot see the tendrils in my game. I’m not sure if my computer is messed up, or the spell is bugged or what. I just know that I literally cannot see the tendrils, so I just didn’t take the spell.
+Psyfiend: Summons a Psyfiend to your desired location that fears nearby enemies, preferring anything that is attacking the priest. I find that this is a pretty good spell because unlike Dominate Mind, it doesn’t require your full attention. You can summon it, and then continue with your healing.
Dominate Mind: Control the mind of your target for up to 30 seconds. I don’t like this one for the healing tiers much, because it requires you to channel the spell for that 30 seconds. In which that 30 seconds could be better off spent healing.
Level 30: Movement impairing effects.
Body and Soul: When you cast Power Word: shield on a player, that players movement speed is increased by 60% for 4 seconds. I like this talent because I feel as if I can control this completely. I don’t have to rely on other people to do the work, unlike Angelic Feather. I chose this spell for Disc.
+Angelic Feather: places a feather on the ground that increases a player’s speed by 60% for 4 seconds when they walk over it. I chose this spell for Holy because in holy you can’t spam Power Word Shield like you can in Disc. However, I’m not a huge fan of this spell because you can’t always control who uses the spell. Without exact proper placement, anyone could step on the feather and get the speed boost, and you may not want a specific person to get it. I like having more control than that.
Phantasm: When you fade, you remove all movement impairing effects and become un-targetable by ranged attacks for 3 seconds. This would be a great spell for pvp, however, I do not pvp.
+From Darkness, Comes Light: When you cast Smite, Heal, Flash heal, Binding Heal, or Greater Heal, you have a 15% chance for your next Flash Heal to be an instant cast and cost no mana - Stacking up to 2 times. I recommend this spell because you get a free heal while doing your normal healing ‘rotation’.
Mindbender: Grants an improved shadowfiend that grants a little bit more mana. I haven’t tried this spell, yet. However, I heard the mana isn’t that much different from the regular Shadowfiend.
Power Word: Solace: Damages the target and returns .7% mana back. I don’t recommend this spell because when I played around with it, I didn’t see a significant amount of mana being returned. You would have to cast the spell a lot to get a significant amount of mana returned, resulting in less time actually healing… which isn’t good.
Desperate Prayer: A cast that instantly heals the caster for 30% of their health. It has a 2 minute cool-down. I would like this spell better if it had a shorter cool-down. None the less, it is not a bad spell.
Spectral guise: You pretty much create a duplicate of yourself and you go into stealth. You break out as soon as your ‘original’ body takes 3 hits. I don’t much care for this spell as a whole. It might be pretty useful in PvP though.
+Angelic Bulwark: Anytime an attack brings you below 30% health, you gain an absorb shield worth the amount of 20% of your health. This effect cannot occur more than once every 90 seconds. I like this spell because it doesn’t require me to react to save myself. I can continue healing myself and not waste a global cooldown, it automatically casts a shield on me. I recommend this spell.
Twist of Faith: After Damaging or healing a target below 20% health, you deal 15% more damage or healing for 10 seconds. This isn’t a bad spell, but I prefer talents that affect you for the majority of the time, and not some of the time. Hopefully your group isn’t under 20% health often enough where this would be extremely useful.
Power Infusion: Infuses the priest with Power, increasing their casting speed by 20% for 20 seconds, and reduces the mana cost of all spells by 20% for the entire duration.
+Divine Insight: For Disc: When you cast penance there is a 40% chance that your next Power Word Shield will both ignore and not cause the weakened soul effect.
For Holy: When you cast Greater Heal or Prayer of healing, there is a 40% chance your next prayer of Mending will not trigger its cooldown, and will automatically jump to each target instantly.
I am personally used to using Power Infusion and feel comfortable sticking with it for disc. However, I think Divine Insight is great for Holy
Level 90: Keep in mind I have not reached level 90 on the beta and I am not sure how good these spells are.
+Cascade: Cascade is a lot like Prayer of Mending. Except it doesn’t require your target to take damage, and when it bounces, it splits into 2 more bolts, and never hits the same target twice. It grows in power each time it bounces.
Divine Star: Fires a divine star in front of you that deals damage to all enemies and heals all allies. Once it reaches its max distance, it will travel back to you, doing the damage and healing all over again.
Halo: Creates a giant ring of light that heals and damages everything in a 30 yard radius around you, growing in power the further away it goes.
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Add-ons can be a very useful tool in healing. Some people perform better with add-ons, some people do just fine without them. Some examples of healing add-ons are Healbot, Vuhdo, Healium, Grid and Clique.
If you are interested in using Add-ons or Keybindings, Click here!:
Scroll down until you see the part where I begin to talk about Add-ons and keybinds. I may create a hub in the future going more in depth on add-ons, but this is all I have for now. Sorry.
Gearing is a very important thing in World of Warcraft. Without appropriate gear you wont perform very well at all in dungeons or raids. So, if you are a new player you might be wondering exactly how you should gear.
Intellect increases your spell power (It no longer increases your mana pool though). The more intellect you have, the more your spells will heal for.
Spirit increases your mana regeneration while in combat. The more spirit you have, the less mana issues you will have.
Haste affects the amount of time it takes you to cast a spell. The more haste you have, the quicker you can cast.
Critical strike chance increases your chance to critically strike with a spell. The higher your crit, the higher chance you’ll have to crit.
Mastery affects every single class and spec differently. Some Mastery stats aren’t very good, so a player may or may not choose to have mastery on their gear.
As of right now, I am not completely sure what stats you want to aim for on a Holy priest, but it should be as follows: Intellect> Spirit > Mastery > Haste > Crit. Remember this is subject to change at any moment.
As a Priest, you are required to wear cloth as your armor type. Meaning that you can ONLY wear cloth.
I made this hub in a hurry, so if I missed any spells that you think I should have put in here, or you just think that I got something wrong… please do not be afraid to comment and let me know. I will fix it!
Also, if you want to see more demonstrations of more healing spells, please see my discipline guide. However, I had issues trying to upload that video because it was so long. But I cover a LOT of the priest spells. In this video below, I go over some holy specific spells to show you what those are like. Also, if you look shortly before I bring up the talent screen (While I’m casting Divine Hymn) you’ll see Divine Insight proc. I didn’t notice it proc until my boyfriend (the paladin in the video) pointed it out. So you can see my Prayer of Mending bouncing around like crazy.