Patch 4.0.1 and leveling (Part 2: Priests)


Hrm…didn’t really plan to cover priests, but figured what the hey, since one guy posted about wanting to see a priest blog. =p

I did a little bit of testing, starting a priest from 1 and getting it up a few levels, and messing around with an old priest I had sitting at 42, and then just looking at how talents and spells have changed.

Pre-patch 4.0.1, for priests to level, the fastest way to level was to be Holy (with 3 points in Spirit Tap from the shadow tree). We can’t spec into shadow anymore to start, but Spirit Tap was removed from shadow, and for the first few levels at least, it seems that some of the old functionality of spirit tap is there, because I wasn’t having mana issues. So not a huge loss, can’t say I miss it.

Smite also seems to be costing only 9% base mana instead of 15% at the start, though it slowly ramps up as you gain levels (9.1% at 2, 9.3% at 3, etc). I’d assume it hits 15% by level 10, and they designed it like that because of the lack of other dps spells early on. You will still want to pick up a Lesser Magic Wand, as wands are still very much needed.

That said, post 4.0.1…Holy SUCKS for leveling. Don’t go there, it’s a trap!

Even if you want to heal instances, don’t do it, not until you’re 80 (or 85) and doing heroics. MAY be worth doing once you’re in outlands due to stat inflation between expansions, so your mana might last. Maybe.

Unfortunately, there are very few talents that boost dps in holy tree now (thus it’s not worth it for questing), and very few that boost mana regen (thus it’s not worth it for healing). Meditation alone can’t help get you to 80, and Chastise doesn’t get support from talents.

My recommendation is to level as either Discipline or Shadow. Both are pretty good.

Pros: Superior DPS to Disc, and Mind Flay is the cheapest spell you’ll get as a priest for dps. You can also passibly heal (as long as you’re not in shadowform, duh) instances for the early levels.
Cons: It doesn’t have any mana regen worth crap until level 32 (if you pick up Glyph of Spirit Tap, and are able to time SW:Death) or 41 (when you can first pick up Masochism talent, when it no longer matters if you can time SW:Death).

Note: As far as I can tell, Harnessed Shadows does nothing if you don’t have the mastery…which you can’t get until 80. So that’s a stupid talent, even though it’s good at level 80+. Reminds me of wacky warlock talent design, honestly. I’ve also looked at comments on wowhead, and some people seem to have run into the same results with their tests, so it doesn’t seem to be an isolated case.

  • Lv 10-13: 3/3 Darkness
  • Lv 15-17: 2/2 Imp. SW:Pain
  • Lv 19-23: 3/3 Imp. Mind Blast
  • Lv 25-27: 2/2 Twisted Faith (While hit rating is important, you won’t get quite so much from spirit early on, hence why we picked IMB first)
  • Lv 29: 1/1 Shadowform
  • Lv 31-33: 2/2 Improved Psychic Scream (It’s nice while leveling, particularly with Gyph of Psychic Scream, which I recommend for lv 25)
    Lv 31-33: 2/2 Veiled Shadows (if you go into a lot of instances)
  • Lv 35-37: 2/2 Imp. Devouring Plague
  • Lv 39: 1/1 Vampiric Embrace
  • Lv 41-43: 2/2 Masochism
  • Lv 45-47: 2/2 Mind Melt
  • Lv 49: 1/1 Vampiric Touch
  • Lv 51-53: 2/2 Paralysis
  • Lv 55-57: 2/2 Pain and Suffering
  • Lv 59-63: 3/3 Shadowy Apparition
  • Lv 65-67: 2/2 Sin and Punishment
  • Lv 69: 1/1 Dispersion
  • Lv 71-75: (Disc) 3/3 Twin Disciplines
  • Lv 77-79: 2 points for whatever you prefer. You can either put them in Harnessed Shadows (it won’t do anything until level 80 but if you plan on having HS+IPS, don’t have to respec later), or respec to that at 80 and meanwhile put them elsewhere, like Silence+Psychic Horror.

Lv 10-27, cast Mind Blast > SW:Pain > Mind Flay until target is dead. Feel free to skip mind blast if you’re trying to conserve a bit of mana, and rely on Mind Flay and wanding.

Lv 25, pick up Glyph of Mind Flay and Glyph of Psychic Scream. Feel free to insert a psychic scream now after the first mind flay, so you can put some distance, cast SW:Pain again and Mind Flay some more. If it’s already near death though, just wand it to death though after putting some distance.

Lv 28-48, cast Mind Blast > Devouring Plague > SW:Pain > Mind Flay until target is dead. Feel free to exclude Devouring Plague until level 37+ (see talents).

Lv 49+, you have Vampiric Touch, so now cast: Vampiric Touch > Mind Blast > Devouring Plague > SW:Pain > Mind Flay. In instances, try to prioritize keeping VT and SW:P up so you can Mind Blast for mana and do more damage with mind flay.

At level 50, pick up Glyph of SW:D and Glyph of Spirit Tap. Try to take advantage of Masochism talent to recover mana from this point on, finish things off with Shadow Word: Death.

If you want, you can pick up the Spirit Tap glyph at level 32 (when you pick up SW:D), using a vanishing powder on Psychic Scream, and then picking up Glyph of Psychic Scream again here at level 50.

At level 75, pick up Glyph of SW:Pain. Other glyphs are up to you.

Pros: All of the talent specialization bonuses are great for leveling. Mana regen from Meditation, extra intellect (meaning more mana and spellpower), and Penance is good for both healing or dps. It also picks up a lot of good talents for mana conservation, and has a decent selection of dps talents, and the best survivability of the three. While not quite as good at questing as Shadow, it’s still pretty good, and is a very capable healer for instances.
Cons: If you got bored of spamming Smite from levels 1-10, you don’t want to be Disc. Disc for dps consists almost entirely around the Smite spell.

Discipline (to 37):

  • Lv 10-13: 3/3 Twin Disciplines
  • Lv 15-17: 2/2 Imp. Power Word: Shield (You could go 2/3 Mental Agility, but you’ll be spamming Smite enough that you won’t get much from it)
  • Lv 19-21: 2/2 Evangelism
  • Lv 23: 1/1 Archangel (This is great for mana regen, and why you’re going to be spamming Smite so much)
  • Lv 25-27: 2/2 Soul Warding (if you do instances/BGs mostly) or 2/3 Mental Agility (if you quest mostly)
  • Lv 29-31: 2/2 Atonement
  • Lv 33: 1/1 Power Infusion
  • Lv 35-37: 2/2 Renewed Hope

If you plan to focus on healing instances (you have a shadow offspec or plan on getting one at 40):

  • Lv 39-43: 3/3 Rapture
  • Lv 45: 1/1 Inner Focus
  • Lv 47: 1/2 Borrowed Time
  • Lv 49-53: 3/3 Divine Aegis
  • Lv 55: Pain Suppression
  • Lv 57: 2/2 Borrowed Time
  • Lv 59-61: 2/2 Grace
  • Lv 63-65: 2/2 Train of Thought
  • Lv 67: 1/3 Mental Agility
  • Lv 69: 1/1 PW:Barrier
  • Lv 71-75: (Holy) 3/3 Divine Fury
  • Lv 77-79: (Shadow) 2/3 Darkness -or- (Holy) 2/3 Empowered Healing (depending on how much you use the Heal healing spells)

If you plan to focus on questing with some instances or BGs and don’t want to bother with shadow:

  • Lv 39-41: 2/2 Reflective Shield
  • Lv 43-47: 3/3 Rapture
  • Lv 49-51: 2/2 Soul Warding (since you’d have taken 2/3 MA from 25-27)
  • Lv 53: 1/1 Pain Suppression
  • Lv 55-57: 2/2 Train of Thought
  • Lv 59-61: 2/2 Focused Will
  • Lv 63-67: 3/3 Divine Aegis
  • Lv 69: 1/1 PW:B
  • Lv 71-75: (Holy) 3/3 Divine Fury
  • Lv 77-79: (Shadow) 2/3 Darkness

For levels 10-19, cast Smite, then Penance, then spam Smite until stuff is dead. Don’t bother with shadow spells.

For levels 20-50, cast Holy Fire > Penance > spam Smite until stuff is dead. Pick up Glyph of Divine Accuracy and Glyph of PW:S at level 25. Divine Accuracy is actually more important even though it’s a major glyph and not prime.

At level 50+, pick up Glyph of Smite and Glyph of Penance. Again, the major glyph, Smite, is actually more important, as it modifies your rotation. Cast Penance > Holy Fire > spam Smite. (Yes, it’s a very exciting change in rotation)
You’re casting Penance first so you can fit in more smites with +20% damage from the glyph.

Healing instances:
Step 1

  • Cast Power Word: Fortitude on the party

Step 2

Step 3

  • Whenever you can, cast Smite on mobs. If you’re at least level 29, you will actually do some healing when you do this, -and- you’ll gain stacks of Evangelism.
  • Try to get those stacks of Evangelism to 5 so you can cast Archangel, and boost your healing (and get mana back).

Step 4

  • Before you go into an instance, have an idea of how much your Flash Heal, Heal and Greater Heal spells heal for.
  • Try to heal people mostly with PW:S and Smite (off atonement) since they’re your best spells. Alternatively, use Heal as needed.
  • Also use Flash Heal/Greater Heal as needed obviously, if tank or dps have taken a lot of damage and need saving.

When you hit level 80/85, you may find it easier to start healing heroics as Holy, instead of Disc.

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    Nov 7, 2010 @ 21:35 pm

    Mind Flay is the cheapestMind Flay is the cheapest spell you have, costs 9% of your base mana. It’ll also do the most dps per mana as far as I could tell from my tests with a level 10 priest and an untalented/undertalented level 42 priest.

    In a typical fight against a same level mob, I would find that using that rotation, I’d get 3 ticks off of SW:P, the cooldown for mind blast was still not finished, and the first mind flay got its three ticks off, but I’d only get 1-2 out of the second. The enemy would die then generally or I’d finish it off with a wand. I never found a need to cast it a third time. This is without the glyph of mind flay too.

    Besides, casting SW:P again would just result in lost mana, and Mind Blast as mentioned isn’t up yet. So your only two options are really to either use the wand or cast mind flay again.

    It tends to depend on the quality of your wand, your spellpower and intellect/spirit…but I generally found that a same level mob has enough health that I’d rather mind flay since I’d loose enough health that I’ll need to pop out of shadowform to heal myself otherwise.

    Notably, if you’re following Jame’s guides, mobs will probably be 1-3 levels below you in general, so a wand may often do the job there. That said, even if you have the best wand in the world, you’re going to be suffering from mana efficiency no matter what you do until you pick up the glyph of SW:D or Masochism though. Priest leveling has -always- been a chore for vanilla levels.

    On the plus side, it used to be recommended to go shadow at level 50. Here it’s more around level 32 that respecing is recommended, though I think it’s still possible to level as shadow from 10-32 now. And disc questing really is kind of boring for those levels honestly, so I’d personally choose to live with the inefficiency…

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    Nov 7, 2010 @ 0:00 am

    i gotta admit……i’m not so sure about you’re rotation at level 25. Having a lack of mana regen + constant spamming Mind Flay really takes its toll after a few mobs in!

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    Nov 4, 2010 @ 19:04 pm

    Hrm… I don’t mind linkingHrm… I don’t mind linking to ’em, but I’d rather avoid embedding videos. Still, would be cool to see someone in action and seeing what readers can pull out of that.

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    Nov 4, 2010 @ 18:38 pm

    For your pally guideI have 3 videos I made of me tanking sinse 4.0.1 BC runs at apprpriate levels if you want to embed them.

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    Nov 2, 2010 @ 22:17 pm

    Yay blogs!Yay blogs!

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