I’ve actually been surprised to find out how few warcraft players read WoW blogs. It’s strange to me. I’m also finding out that maybe I really am better informed than most priests. So I decided to test that with a list of a Few Things That You Might Not Know About Priests. I’m finding out that these things aren’t as common as I thought, and that there are a lot more priests healing than before now that the new Looking for Dungeon tool has shown them clearly that a 20 minute wait for a group turns to two minutes when you check that “healer” box. (If you don’t play, then this is going to all be gibberish.)
- Power Word: Shield doesn’t act like heals for threat. First, it generates half the threat that a direct heal does. So if it is a 7.7K shield (like mine) then it generates as much threat as a 3.9K heal. The second thing is that all the threat is generated when you cast it. That means that you can cast it before combat, and get the entire shield for zero threat. This also means that if you cast it right after entering combat and the tank doesn’t have any aggro other than proximity or vicarious aggro on some mobs, you could pull aggro without actually healing a single point.
- Also, overheal doesn’t cause any threat (any more). Buffs do cause threat, buttloads of it, so if you didn’t get your Fortitude buff or Inner Fire up before combat, give the tank a few seconds before you catch up, or you could be mob chow.
- Inner Focus is one of the most powerful abilities available, and your spec should include it no matter which tree you are going down. Divine Hymn is one of the most powerful heals in the game. These two should be combined as much as possible. In fact, your Divine Hymn button should actually be a macro that tries to kick Inner Focus at the same time (it isn’t on the global cooldown, so you can do that.) Inner Focus makes the cast free. Divine Hymn costs stupid amounts of mana. Inner Focus gives you +25% crit for the cast. Divine Hymn can crit. Putting these two together is an atomic bomb of a panic button. When everything is going to shit and you have no idea how to heal it, hit that button. You get a free cast that gives three smart heals four times and it gets the 10% bonus if it lands on the same target more than once. Fuck Lay On Hands, this is the best heal in the game. This one is so awesome I’m amazed every time we get through a patch without it being nerfed.
- You should always have Inner Fire up. 100% of the time. If you are in combat and it wears off, you should recast it. Power Auras is wonderful for alerting you to this. It gives you a ton of armor, relatively speaking. When it is up, you aren’t a clothie anymore, statwise. You’re leather, baby. Fire mages weep every time they mouseover that buff. On top of that, you get bonus spellpower even if you aren’t taking damage. You get as much spellpower as if you had another trinket slot for an “on equip” spellpower trinket. Put it up, and keep it up. Remember how I said that every spec should have Inner Focus? It should also have Improved Inner Fire.
- Use Prayer of Mending. Healing cooties are great, and are even better for Discipline priests than Holy (since our Prayer of Healing sucks.) For fights that do constant, moderate amounts of AoE damage, like Sapphiron or Hodir, it is king, but it is still mana efficient even if you only get one heal out of it, so cast it on the tank whenever it is off cooldown. If it gets just one bounce (and sometimes that’s all) it is worth it. If it bounces out and sounds like jingle bells, that means you just became a more mana efficient raid healer than the shaman. It can also proc “on heal” abilities like Divine Aegis, so spam it out there. They put a cooldown on it for a reason. If an ability has a cooldown, like Prayer of Mending or Circle of Healing, it is because it would wreck the game without it. If you also need to get an effective instant heal on the tank and your Circle of Healing or Penance is on cooldown, PoM is your go-to.
- Use Mind Vision to scout out mobs. Use it to raid mark mobs around the corner. Use it to raid mark mobs that are all jumbled together. Use it to find party members who are ninja AFK or lost on a death run. And use it to find the flag carrier in Warsong Gulch. Use it to freak out a guildie at the bank who doesn’t see you there or a rogue stealthing up to sap.
- Learn to Crowd Control (l2CC). It isn’t just for mages. You have two very powerfull CC spells — Shackle Undead and Mind Control. Shackle can be used not just for CC, but also as an interrupt on shackleable mobs. Cast it on a long cast, and let the tank break it. It still interrupts the cast in the .1 second before it gets broken. Mind Control can give you pleasant surprises, too, because there are some casters with absurd buffs that you can cast on your own party through the MC.
Even of you aren’t a priest, these things might be good to know (and your priest might be surprised at the results if you tip him to these.)