The Holy Priest is World of Warcraft’s original healing class, deemed for years to be indispensable to any raid group attempting any kind of endgame content. In more recent times, Holy Priests have become more interchangeable with other healing classes, but they still bring some unique elements to the table. This Holy Priest guide is aimed at helping you understand and master the basics of the specialisation
Holy Priests have a versatile selection of healing spells, ensuring they can handle just about any healing scenario. Their greatest strength, however, lies in healing multiple targets. In dungeons from Normal to Mythic+ difficulty they are perfectly able to heal the tank, but when in a raid their healing expertise is best applied to healing other raid members.
One of the specialisation’s weaknesses though is its lack of mobility, something that you need to be aware of and compensate for. The best way to do this is by becoming intimately familiar with the movement patterns of each boss fight.
As is the case with many healing specialisations, Blizzard’s default UI benefits from a little help from addons if you're to unlock your Holy Priest’s full potential. We will make minimal recommendations on this front below, and right before we help you define your spell priority in any given combat situation.
But before we get into that, we’ll start by outlining a good talent build that is easy to pick up and offers a good path to mastery. This build should hold up in anything but Mythic raiding content, although be warned: if you intend to level up as a Holy Priest, you’re in for a very slow grind.
A better way to go about levelling is to quest as a Shadow Priest - check out our Shadow Priest guide for more advice on that front - and then switch to Holy at maximum level, empowering your Holy Artifact Weapon with any AP you’ve saved along the way.
We will be updating this guide often, and in the next update we will include a section to help you pick the optimal stats and gear for your Holy Priest. Later on we'll also outline an efficient levelling path for your Artifact Weapon.
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Holy Priest talent build
Holy Priests have a highly customisable talent tree that can heavily influence your playstyle. For that reason we’ve picked talents based on their ease-of-use and flexibility, meaning we've opted for those that are generally useful rather than ones that are optimized for a single type of content
|Level||Talent Option||Reason for Choice|
|15||Trail of Light - When you cast Flash Heal, 40% of the healing is replicated to the previous target you healed with Flash Heal.||Free 2-for-1 healing makes this the best choice in this tier.|
|30||Angelic Feather - Places a feather at the target location, granting the first ally to walk through it 40% increased movement speed for 5 seconds. Only 3 feathers can be placed at one time. Maximum 3 charges.||While slightly clunky to use, this is by far the most useful and versatile talent in this tier. Often you will cast it right on top of yourself in order to benefit from its effects.|
|45||Afterlife - Increases the duration of Spirit of Redemption by 50%.||This greatly increases your usefulness after death (although it’s always best not to die, of course). For questing, feel free to swap this out for Shining Force.|
|60||Light of the Naaru - Serendipity reduces the remaining cooldown on the appropriate Holy Word by an additional 2 sec.||This will allow you to use your most powerful spells more often. If in a coordinated raiding team - one where you have a player coordinating all the healers - taking Symbol of Hope instead can benefit the team more.|
|75||Surge of Light - Your healing spells and Smite have a 8% chance to make your next Flash Heal instant and cost no mana. Maximum 2 charges.||While the odds of this popping aren't huge, an occasional free heal is nothing to be sneered at. Over the course of a dungeon or raid, it can add up to a lot.|
|90||Divinity - When you heal with a Holy Word spell, your healing is increased by 15% for 6 sec.||All talents at this level are very powerful and you should feel free to experiment with all three. That said, this one is consistently useful. Just make sure to frontload your healing with a Holy Word spell to make the most out of it.|
|100||Benediction - Your Prayer of Mending has a 40% chance to leave a Renew on each target it heals.||Yet more free healing that effortlessly slots into your main gameplay loop.|
Holy Priest gameplay and cooldowns
As a Holy Priest, it’s important that you are able to see at a glance all your potential targets and, ideally, the condition of Renew on each party member, so you can decide which ones should be refreshed.
The default UI is far from optimised for achieving this. Instead, we recommend a combination of the very minimalistic Grid addon, along with keybindings for your main healing spells as described below.
This will put a very visible list of party / raid members on your screen without cluttering it, and will minimize the amount of mouse navigation and clicking needed to get to each one in time.
Gameplay and abilities
Unlike damage-dealing classes, healers have no optimal rotation for their spells. What healers need to do instead is choose the most mana-efficient spell for any given situation, and depending on the damage received by the target in relation to its health pool.
Here we will list the general best usage for each spell. Consider the order as a mere suggestion of priority. For example, it’s a good idea to cast Holy Word: Serenity before other spells, because it buffs them, hence it is higher up the list. You shouldn't waste it when a smaller healing spell will do though.
In simple terms, your task as a healer is to triage effectively in the interest of keeping the highest numbers of players out of danger.
|Priority||When and Whom to Target|
|1||Flash Heal||If you have gained a Surge of Light buff. Use on the most damaged party member.|
|2||Light of T’uure (Artifact Ability)||If it is at max charges, and on the most damaged party member. Try to save the second charge for an emergency.|
|3||Holy Word: Serenity||When a single target is taking high damage.|
|4||Prayer of Mending||Use liberally, unless a tank is taking high amounts of damage and requires your complete attention.|
|5||Holy Word: Sanctify||If 3 or more people are being damaged at once.|
|6||Prayer of Healing||If 3 or more people are being damaged at once.|
|7||Renew||Keep on the tank, and place on players taking moderate damage that your more efficient spells won’t heal to full. Avoid if 3 or more people are being damaged at once.|
|8||Flash Heal||When a target is taking moderate damage.|
|9||Heal||On targets taking light to moderate damage. Avoid if 3 or more people are being damaged at once.|
|10||Smite||No incoming damage? Pew pew time! Hit those mobs with your most powerful spell.|
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Holy Priests have just a few, albeit extremely powerful cooldowns, capable of turning the tide of a losing battle. Since they often have such weight, you should confer with the healing officer in your raid to understand at which point you will be expected to use each one. It is often a waste if two tigger-happy healers deploy their cooldowns at the same time.
|Divine Hymn||This is an extremely powerful heal that affects the whole group and can be used quite often - 3 minutes is a short cooldown for a spell of this magnitude. When in a 5-man party, save it for specific boss attacks that deal high damage to the whole party. In a raid, the person in charge of the healers should determine when to use it.|
|Guardian Spirit||You can use this to save the life of someone that you see dropping down in health too fast for you to heal with your normal spells. It is usually best saved against boss abilities that you know your tank will struggle with.|
|Symbol of Hope||This is an optional tweak to your talents (refer to the talent section above) that is nevertheless extremely effective in raids, helping all your team’s healers cope with very intense periods of damage. As with the others, you should only use it when requested by your raid leader or healing leader.|
This concludes the initial version of our Holy Priest guide! In the next update, we’ll discuss the best path to take when upgrading your Artifact Weapon, and include a section detailing how each stat found in gear will influence your abilities and playstyle.
Did we miss something? Do you have a suggestion? Please tells us in the comments section below!