So we all know that the Hand Me Downs: A Poor Man’s Heirlooms post was a huge wall of text, and that I’m breaking it down into class-sized pieces for you. No need to repeat all of that business, so here we go. Moving on to the next class in this series (in no particular order, I might add), we have: Priests.
The basic idea of what I call “hand-me-downs” (or HMD’s) is that you’re taking items that can be passed from one toon to the next (so Common, White-quality items) and enhancing them to make them better. Enhancements that we’re going to talk about here come mostly from the Enchanting profession, though a few may also be found in Blacksmithing (counterweights, sheild spikes, etc), Leatherworking (armor kits), and Engineering (scopes).
The whole point here is to get low level gear that you can pass around to any alts that you ever roll to make them more powerful starting out. As Cynwise and I have proved through experiment in both PvE and PvP at low levels, it isn’t heirlooms that make your character so overpowered, it’s actually the enchants.
So if you’re trying to decide on which class to role, or what to go take one for a test drive for 10 levels or so before deciding whether or not to keep them, this is a great way to get a feel for how the class is going to play for you without putting in investment that’s going to be wasted. Since these items can be passed around due to their lack of binding, it’s not a big deal to roll a character, gain a few levels, scrap them and reroll another, and so on until you find a nice fit.
Obtaining Your HMD Caster Weapons
Arcane Forged Mace: 2-5 Damage (1.7 DPS), 1.90 Speed
Mana Gathering Staff: 5-9 Damage (2.1 DPS), 3.20 Speed
Apprentice’s Staff: 3-5 Damage (1.3 DPS), 2.90 Speed
Arcane Forged Dirk: 1-4 Damage (1.7 DPS), 1.60 Speed
The first thing you need to decide when picking your caster weapon(s) is whether you want it to be one-handed or two-handed. The benefit of using a one-hand is that you can also equip off-hand items as you level, such as the books offered from the Inscription profession. The only real “benefit” of using a two-handed item as a HMD instead is that it can often look “cooler”. I like my casters to have a staff even though I know I can usually get better stats overall from a one-hand plus off-hand combo.
The benefit of a staff really is that the staff weapons almost always look cooler than the one-handed weapons. You lose out on being able to use an off-hand item, and you get nothing in return save for the weapon’s looks. You also need to consider the fact that these enchants usually have a glow effect on them which will make a Dagger look like a lightbulb in your hand (not really, but pretty close). A sword can have a really cool effect with the right enchant, and a staff will have the primary end glow when enchanted. All in all I just tend to lean towards a staff, though a sword tends to look the best when enchanted.
The first option up there, Arcane Forged Mace, is the one that I recommend using for your Priests because it looks fairly cool for a caster mace and because it’s one-handed. Since you’re a caster, it doesn’t make a bit of difference which one you choose as far as damage and speed are concerned, because it’s really just a source of stats for you via the enchant you place on it. I have four different staff weapons in my HMD collection, but I still prefer using a one-hander for the ability to make use of my off-hand. Despite my preference for a staff’s look, I’m a min/maxer at heart so I’m suggesting the sword.
Another benefit of the Mace is that every healer in the game can use a mace. You may decide to go with the Dagger instead because every caster besides the Paladin can use it. But because of that restriction on the Paladin, if you want to cover every caster in the game you have no choice but to make two caster HMD’s.
Enchant Weapon – Mighty Intellect: +22 Intellect
Enchant Weapon – Spell Power: +30 Spell Power
Enchant Weapon – Healing Power: +29 Spell Power
Enchant 2H Weapon – Major Intellect: +9 Intellect
Priests played as DPS operate similar to Mages in a lot of their casting, or somewhat like Warlocks if you go Shadow. But, Priests find mana issues in any spec they take while leveling (when compared to the Warlock). As such, I put the +22 Intellect enchant firmly at the top of the list.
So far I’ve leveled Priests as Shadow and Discipline after the 4.0.1 changes and I’ve seen mana issues with both of them. You want as much Intellect as you can get your hands on, and the weapon enchant is the single-best source for that.
If you can’t afford (or find) those top three, then +9 Intellect should be both easy to find and cheap. It’s not nearly as good as the others, but it’s definitely better than nothing and 9 Spell Power and 135 Mana is still of great use to a low level toon.
Obtaining Your HMD Armor
Chest: Haliscan Jacket: 90 Armor
– Festival Dress: 13 Armor
– Simple Black Dress: 0 Armor
Bracer: Light Cloth Bracers: 9 Armor
Gloves: Light Cloth Gloves: 13 Armor
Feet: Dress Shoes: 9 Armor
Back: Linen Cloak: 12 Armor
*Waist: Light Cloth Belt: 12 Armor
*Legs: Haliscan Pantaloons: 77 Armor
– Black Tuxedo Pants: 54 Armor
This is an example of a full gear set that I would suggest for your HMD’s. This particular set can be purchased form the Cloth Armor vendor in the Blood Elf starting zone, but there is a similar armor set that you can purchase in every starting zone that have the same stats.
There are a few armor pieces here that aren’t vendor purchases though, and those are the Chest and Legs. There I have the pieces that are actually above and beyond the norm, and they are all crafted by Tailors. The Haliscan Jacket and Simple Black Dress are both able to be equipped at level 1, but they both have item levels over 35 which means they can be enchanted with recipes from the Burning Crusade expansion where other items cannot. If you can afford one of them, then I suggest you do it. The Haliscan is a shirt rather than a robe, so if you like to look more like a caster then you may prefer to the Dress instead, despite the 90 Armor difference.
The Festival Dress is just a cool looking robe for you to wear at low levels, and since part of using HMD’s is looking cool I’m going to leave it up there. The Simple Black Dress might have a higher item level and be able to get better enchants on it, but it doesn’t look nearly as cool as the Festival Dress.
I marked the Legs and Waist items because neither of those slots can actually be enchanted with anything worthwhile for a low level toon (16 armor from an armor kit is blah). You can get some more armor out of them, but that’s it. I don’t consider it worth my time or my bank space to hold onto those items since they offer so little benefit. If you want a complete “set” of the armor, then go ahead and buy them, but otherwise ignore those two slots.
I still feel that the +6 Stats is overall the best option for any class because it just offers so much across the board that it’s hard to match, much less beat. The mana is another good option for you as it’s also fairly cheap, it’s just not quite as good as the others.
While you can play a low level Priest similar to how I play my Warlocks (casting DoT’s on the entire starting zone at once), your mana costs are insanely higher for spamming Shadow Word: Pain when compared to the Warlock’s Corruption. You want mana, and you want lots of it. While you take a slight loss of mana using the +6 or +4 Stats enchants over the +100 Mana, you’re also gaining both Spell Power and Health in return.
I personally choose +15 SP for my bracer enchants, but the +7 Intellect enchant is a lot better than it used to be now that Int=SP. You can either have 15 Sp or you can have 7 SP and 105 Mana to go with it. It’s up to you really, I just like to have that extra level of power from the 15 SP for my personal taste.
I’ve considered swapping out the +15 SP for the +7 Intellect for my Priests, and I think I’m going to go ahead and do it simply because of the mana issues. If I’m just kicking back covering the heals in a dungeon then there’s not really a problem, but if I decide to go on the offensive then I can very easily bleed my mana dry on every single boss fight.
Casters have a lot of really good options here. The generic enchant of choice is Healing Power for +16 SP to all of your spells, but if you know you’re going to Shadow then you can go with the Shadow Power instead. Caster bracers aren’t especially easy to find in game, so you may very well find yourself wearing these HMD’s in your 30′s. If you plan on paying 10g for dual spec at that level range then you may really want to consider Healing Power over Shadow Power because of the cross-over usefulness of generic SP over type-specific.
The Minor Haste enchant is a very good choice and one I frequently use. For low level casting that 10 Haste equates to about 0.10 seconds off of your cast times. Priests make fairly good use of Haste at early levels where some of the other classes do not, because the Haste makes your DoT’s tick more frequently. I’m not sure how big of an impact that 10 Haste will give you, but it’s definitely better than nothing.
Casters get the shaft on boot enchants, with nothing really standing out. I lean towards the speed increase for my personal use, but you might prefer the +5 Hit. Run Speed will help you quest and level faster, while Accuracy will help you kill faster, so the choice is yours. If you’re not playing DPS, then Hit obviously isn’t a priority.
The cloak enchants still suck, and that’s about all there is to it. Threat really shouldn’t be an issue for you in dungeons because you don’t get early AoE spells and Priests kind of suck when it comes to burst damage so you shouldn’t steal threat from a tank unless you’re targeting the wrong mobs. On the flip side, you shouldn’t be getting hit in melee combat anyway so the Armor enchant is even more useless.
If you’re going to run dungeons at all then I say use the Threat enchant, otherwise go for the Armor simply because threat has no value at all when solo.