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WoW Priest Guide: Basics

Updated Thu, Aug 18, 2011 by Mem



Priests are just one of many classes in World of Warcraft, however, this class is special because it is equipped with not only amazing healing abilities, but also is able to dish out some serious DPS using priestly spells. No matter how you choose to play your Priest, as a healer, or as DPS, the Priest is always a welcome addition to any group.

In this section of our Priest Guide you will find basic information regarding the Priest class. Including, why you should play the Priest, profession information, important statistics, and which race is best for the Priest. Enjoy!

Getting Started

Why should you play a Priest?

With all the other excellent class choices in World of Warcraft you may be wondering why exactly you should choose the Priest. Below you will find several of the most positive aspects of the Priest class:

  • Priests are able to not only do incredible healing, but also dish out massive amounts of DPS with just a simple change of spec. 
  • Essential to any group, the Priest of any spec can provide many useful buffs to the entire group or raid.
  • Leveling the Priest is easy thanks to their ability to heal and do damage. 
  • Even though they wear cloth, the Priest has many defense mechanisms to save themselves and other members of their group or raid from certain doom.

Priest Race Selection

What's the best race for the Priest?

One of the first big decisions you will make as a Priest is what race you will be, but first you should decide which faction you wish to be part of, Alliance or Horde. Your choice of faction will dictate which zones you spend the most time in, who your comrades will be, and who you will consider your enemies.

Remember that the ultimate decision of what race you choose should be based on your personal feelings rather than stats, this will ensure that you love the race you are playing and most likely will never regret your choice. However, if your looking for a more technical way to choose your race you may wish to check out the various racial abilities attributed to each. Check out the listings below to see the racial abilities for each race:

Horde
Blood Elf Blood Elves racials provide them with an increased resistance to Arcane effects, increased Enchanting skill, and Arcane Torrent; a silencing ability.
Forsaken Forsaken racials provide the race with an increase in Shadow resistance by 1, the ability to breathe underwater for longer than normal, the ability to gain back health and mana through cannibalization, and Will of the Forsaken; an ability that removes any movement impairing effects from the player.
Goblin Goblin racials provide them with the best possible gold discount at vendors, regardless of faction, an increase in Alchemy skill, a 1% increase in attack and casting speed, and the ability to use their belt to launch rockets at enemies and jump long distances from time to time.
Tauren Tauren racials provide a base health increase by 5%, a increase in nature resistance by 1, an 15 point increase in Herbalism, and War Stomp; an ability that stuns nearby enemies.
Troll Troll racials provide this race with 5%  increased damage verses beasts, 20% increased attack and casting speed, a 1% increased chance to hit with bows, a 10% health regeneration rate, an 1% chance to critically hit with throwing weapons, and a 15% reduction to the duration of all movement impairing effects.

Alliance
Draenei Draenei racials provide an increase in Jewelcrafting skill by 10 points, a 1% increased chance to hit with all spells and attacks, increased resistance to Shadow effects by 1, and Gift of the Naaaru; an ability that heals the player’s target.
Dwarf Dwarven racials provide a 1% increase to critically hit with Guns, expertise with Maces and Two-Handed Maces increased by 3, an increased resistance to Frost effects, the ability to find additional fragments when looting arcaelogical finds and the ability to survey faster than other archaeologists, and Stoneform; an ability that removes all poison, disease, and bleed effects, and increases the player’s armor by 10% for 8 seconds.
Gnome Gnome racials provide an increase in resistance to Arcane effects by 1, a 15 point increase in Engineering, a 5% increase in the player’s mana pool, a 3 point increase in expertise with Daggers and One-Handed Swords, and Escape Artist; an ability that allows the player to escape the effects of any immobilization or movement speed reduction effect.
Human Humans have an increase in Spirit by 3%, a 10% increase in reputation gain, an additional 3 points of expertise in Maces, Two-Handed Maces, Swords, and Two-Handed Swords, and Every Man for Himself, an ability that removes all movement impairing effects which cause loss of control of your character.
Night Elf Night Elf racials provide a 75% increased movement speed while dead, a 1 point resistance increase to Nature effects, reduces the chance that melee or ranged attackers will hit you by 2%, and allows the player to meld with the shadows, reducing the chance for enemies to detect your presence.
Worgen Worgen racials provide a 15 point increase in Skinning and allows the player to skin faster, increases critical strike chance by 1%, allows the player to shift between Worgen and Human form, a 13 point increased resistance to harmful Nature and Shadow effects, the ability to drop to all fours to run more quickly, and Darkflight, an ability that allows the Worgen to transform into their true form, increasing movement speed by 70% for 10 seconds.

Priest Professions

What’s the best Profession for a Priest?

Choosing a profession can seem like a difficult task, but let me assure you that it is easier than you might think. Thanks to some changes made by Blizzard, currently every crafting profession in game will offer a basic bonus to a player’s stats. These bonuses are designed so that none are better than the other. This means that players for possibly the first time ever are able to pick a profession based on their own personal preference instead of picking one simply because it helps out their class. So feel free to pick the profession that most appeals to you and go from there.

Priest Specializations

What spec should I pick for a Priest?

There are three major specializations that a Priest can choose from; Holy (Healing, Discipline (Healing), or Shadow (Spell DPS). Each specialization has its own benefits and will offer the Priest a distinct playing experience. Choose the one that best fits your personal play style. See a basic description of each of these specializations below:

  • Discipline (Healing) - Discipline Priests, while healers, specialize in preventing damage rather than healing it. In fact the Discipline Priests main role in a group or raid will be damage mitigation combined with some quick healing when in a pinch.
  • Holy (Healing) - Holy Priests are the crème de le crème when it comes to healers in World of Warcraft. Able to heal large groups, or individuals with precision and incredible efficiency the Holy tree focuses on enhancing these healing abilities.
  • Shadow (Spell DPS) - The Shadow tree delves into the dark side of the Priest. Here Priests will find abilities to enhance their spells to let them unleash incredible amounts of damage. Priests who choose this path use Shadowform, which increases Shadow damage, increases all party and raid members spell haste, and reduces damage done to the Priest, however, once in Shadowform the Priest loses the ability to cast Holy spells. 

Priest Equipment and Statistics

How should I choose equipment and stats for the Priest?

Discipline Holy Shadow
Intellect
Spirit
Intellect
Spirit
Haste
Intellect
Spell Power
Haste.
Critical Strike



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