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Druid Leveling: 1-29 Feral

Playing a Feral Druid
Feral Druids are an odd class to play at low levels. It’s almost like Blizzard tried too hard to make us viable with a limited tool set early on and then slowly trickled in all the other abilities that we actually need to be more than mangle-spammers. In short, if you’re new to playing a Feral Druid be prepared to relearn how to play your class every ten levels because our spells are scattered all over the place.

Feral is also somewhat unique because it’s both a tank spec and a DPS spec at the same time. That also makes your talent choices interesting because some talents benefit both roles while others do only one or the other. You’ll need to decide whether you want to focus more on DPS or on tanking, or if you want to play that middle ground as much as possible.

While playing as a Cat you have the option of using stealth to move around undetected in PvE and PvP, though you don’t get any direct benefit from being in stealth right away. As a Bear you just run up to things and smack things in the face until they’re dead. For most of the leveling process Cat damage is based on bleeds and burst while Bear damage is based on steady, repeated blows that utilize the Bears added survivability to be able to live long enough for those steady blows to win you the fight.

Important Spells & Abilities
I’m going to do the spell breakdown a little bit differently this time around than I have in the past. I’m going to break down the important spells based on which forms you have available to you (Caster/Normal, Cat, and Bear) and also which type of spell it is. Druids are the ultimate hybrid class and even though a LOT of the spells you learn aren’t important to being a Feral Druid I want to cover the ones that are worth noting so that you have a firm grasp of what you’re capable of.

I’m still not listing every single spell (though close to it) as not all spells are useful to every spec.

Note that all numeric values are taken from the level 29 version of the spell for the purposes of this post.

Caster Form (Levels 1-8)

  • Wrath (1): Deals 45-49 Nature Damage to the target.
  • Moonfire (4): Burns the enemy for 11-13 Arcane damage and then additional Arcane damage over 12 seconds.

I list these spells primarily because this is what you’ll use to level until at least level 8 since you have no forms to choose from until then. However, it’s also important to be familiar with these if you’re going to PvP. As a Feral Druid there’s a lot of crowd control that you can shrug off, but being rooted in place is not one of them. In cases like those, you need to be able to pop out of your feral form to attack with spells. Even as Feral I keep Moonfire keybound an in reach for just such an occasion. I’ll get into more detail on when using Moonfire and other caster spells is a good idea as a Feral even though using these spells pops you out of your Cat/Bear form in a later post directed specifically at PvP.

For leveling from 1-8, you’re basically going to spam Wrath and/or Moonfire until your targets are dead.

Cat Form (Levels 8-29)

  • Cat Form (8): Shift into Cat form, causing Agility to increase Attack Power (2:1). Also protects the caster from Polymorph effects and allows the use of cat abilities. Shapeshifting frees the caster of movement slowing effects.
  • Claw (8): Claw the enemy, causing 100% of normal damage plus 38. Awards 1 combo point.
  • Ferocious Bite (8): Finishing Move causes damage per combo point and consumes up to 35 additional energy to increase damage by up to 100%, and heals you for up to 1% of your total max health for each 10 energy used.
  • Rake (8): Rake the target for Bleed damage and additional Bleed damage every 3 seconds for 9 seconds. Awards 1 combo point.
  • Mangle (10): Mangle the target for 354% normal damage plus 3 and causes the target to take 30% additional damage from bleed effects for 1 minute. Awards 1 combo point.
  • Prowl (10): Allows the druid to prowl around (stealth), but reduces your movement speed by 30%. Lasts until cancelled.
  • Ravage (22): Ravage the target, causing 664% damage plus 3 to the target. Must be prowling and behind the target. Awards 1 combo point.
  • Skull Bash (22): Charge and skull bash the target, interrupting spellcasting and preventing any spell in that school from being cast for 4 seconds.
  • Tiger’s Fury (24): Increases physical damage done by 15% for 6 seconds. Requires Cat form. Does not break prowling.
  • Cower (26): Cower, causing no damage but lowering your threat by 10%, making the enemy less likely to attack you.
  • Dash (26): Increases movement speed by 70% while in Cat form for 15 seconds. Does not break prowling.
  • Feline Grace (26): Reduces damage from falling.

In case you haven’t noticed, Druids get a crapload of spells. And these are just the ones that you use strictly in Cat form.

As a leveling Cat the most important spells for you are: Mangle, Rake, Ferocious Bite, Prowl and Ravage. Prowl (stealth) and Ravage are used as openers and with decent gear you can one-shot a lot of quest mobs with Ravage. Especially if you buff your damage with Tiger’s Fury first. Mangle is your spam-attack, Rake is your primary Bleed, and Ferocious Bite is your finisher. We’ll get into more detail about how to use these in the sections below.

Claw is mentioned SOLELY because it’s your only decent attack from level 8-9 in Cat Form. At level 10 you’ll take this off of your bars and never look at this worthless piece of garbage again. This spell only exists to give non-Feral Druids an attack to use while in Cat Form, it’s not meant for you. It costs more Energy than Mangle and does a fraction of its damage, so don’t use this ever again once you reach level 10.

While Skull Bash won’t see much use while you’re leveling, it’s good to stay familiar with it and keep it somewhere easily reachable. You don’t need to interrupt spells from quest mobs, but if you develop that habit now you won’t have to worry about trying to get into the habit when you reach max level where dungeon and raid fights demand interrupts.


Bear Form (Levels 15-29) [jump to tanking]

  • Bear Form (15): Shift into Bear form, increasing armor by 120% and Stamina by 20%. Significantly increases threat generation (500%), causes Agility to increase Attack Power (2:1), and protects the caster from Polymorph effects and allows the use of bear abilities. Shapeshifting frees the caster from movement slowing effects.
  • Mangle (10): Mangle the target for 88% normal damage plus 93 and causes the target to take 30% additional damage from bleed effects for 1 minute.
  • Demoralizing Roar (15): Reduce the physical damage caused by all enemies within 10 yards by 10% for 30 seconds.
  • Growl (15): Taunts the target to attack you, but has no effect if the target is already attacking you.
  • Maul (15): An attack that instantly deals 35 physical damage. Effects which increase Bleed damage also increase Maul damage.
  • Swipe (18): Swipe nearby enemies, inflicting 51 damage. Damage is increased by attack power.
  • Enrage (22): Generates 20 Rage, and then generates an additional 10Rage over 10 seconds.
  • Skull Bash (22): Charge and skull bash the target, interrupting spellcasting and preventing any spell in that school from being cast for 4 seconds.
  • Faerie Fire (24): Decreases the armor of the target by 4% for 5 minutes. While affected, the target cannot stealth or turn invisible. Stacks up to 3 times. Deals damage and additional threat when used in Bear Form.
  • Challenging Roar (28): Forces all nearby enemies within 10 yards to focus attacks on you for 6 seconds.

Did I mention Druids get a crapload of spell? Here’s the list of the ones strictly used in Bear form.

Bear form is most often used for tanking, but it’s also a strong option for leveling; especially for those of you who enjoy using AoE and fighting multiple mobs at once. All of these spells are important in one way or another. For boss tanking Mangle, Demoralizing Roar, and Maul are your primary spells with Growl getting an honorable mention in case you’ve got some strong DPS in your group. For questing or fighting trash your major spells are: Mangle, Demoralizing Roar, Maul, and Swipe with Challenging Roar and Growl being mentioned again for those DPS that might draw agro in dungeons.

We’ll talk more about Bear tanking later on. For now, know that if you’re going to be bear tanking you’ll make use of basically all of these spells. The least likely spell for you as a tank is going to be Skull Bash since you usually have DPS focused on interrupts, but if you can add yours to the mix then you only strengthen your group.

Healing Spells (Levels 3-29)

  • Rejuvenation (3): Heals the target for 70 every 3 seconds for 12 seconds.
  • Regrowth (12): Heals a friendly target for 182-202 and another 57 over 6 seconds.
  • Revive (12): Returns the spirit to the body, restoring a dead target to life with 35% max health and mana. Cannot be cast when in combat.
  • Rebirth (20): Returns the spirit to the body, restoring a dead target to life with 20% health and mana. Can be used during combat.
  • Remove Corruption (24): Nullifies corrupting effects on the friendly target, removing 1 Curse and 1 Poison effect.

I wouldn’t ordinarily bother listing healing spells on a guide written specifically for a Tank/DPS spec, but Druids are special.

There’s a method of healing that we call pre-HoT’ing, which is casting Heal over-Time (HoT) spells on your tank before they pull so that you nullify or greatly reduce the amount of initial damage that they take once combat begins. Bears operate off of a Rage mechanic which starts at 0 and fills up during combat. Because of this you can take great advantage of pre-HoT’ing yourself while questing or during dungeons to lessen the load on your healer. If you’re always out of Rage between pulls then you can also make use of your talents for a free 10 Rage after casting your HoT’s to give you a head start in the pull.

The most likely spell for you to use in a pre-HoT is Rejuvenation because it has a longer duration and a cheaper mana cost. Regrowth only lasts for 6 seconds and it’s a front-loaded HoT as well as expensive, so only use it when you know there’s going to be a lot of incoming damage or when you need to top yourself off from the last pull.

Rebirth is mentioned because being able to resurrect someone mid-combat is pretty stinking useful. Revive I mention only because I can’t believe how many times I’ve had people die in pugs and nobody in the group has or has bothered training a resurrection spell. Learn it. Use it. Love it.

Remove Corruption deserves special mention because you can’t use Prowl (stealth) while you have DoT’s on you because taking damage removes you from stealth. You can enter prowl, you just won’t be able to stay in it for more than a second or two. Removing curses and poisons that deal damage can save you a lot of problems when playing as a cat.

Utility Spells (Levels 4-29)

  • Thorns (5): Thorns sprout from the friendly target causing Nature damage to attackers when hit. Lasts 20 seconds.
  • Entangling Roots (7): Roots the target in place for 30 seconds. Damage caused my interrupt the effect.
  • Teleport: Moonglade (15): Teleports the caster to the Moonglade.
  • Aquatic Form (16): Shift into aquatic form, increasing swim speed by 50% and allowing the druid to breathe underwater. Also protects from Polymorph effects. Shifting frees the caster from movement slowing effects.
  • Travel Form (16): Shift into travel form, increasing movement speed by 40% and protecting you from Polymorph effects. Only usable outdoors. Shifting frees the caster of movement slowing effects.
  • Omen of Clarity (20): Your damage spells, attacks, and auto-attacks have a chance to cuase you to enter a Clearcasting state. The Clearcasting state reduces the Mana, Rage or Energy cost of your next damaging or healing spell or offensive feral ability by 100%.
  • Faerie Fire (24): Decreases the armor of the target by 4% for 5 minutes. While affected, the target cannot stealth or turn invisible. Stacks up to 3 times.
  • Innervate (28): Causes the target to regenerate 5% of their maximum mana over 10 seconds. If cast on self, you regenerate an additional 15% of your maximum mana over 10 seconds.
  • Sooth (28): Soothes the target, dispelling all enrage effects.

Yep. Crapload.

Thorns is a really cool spell that actually puts out a surprising amount of damage. The bad news is, it kicks you out of bear/cat form to use it. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t cast it, but it does mean you should generally avoid doing so mid-combat. This is another spell you should be casting in between pulls for extra damage. If you’re not the tank, cast it on your tank between pulls instead of yourself.

Entangling Roots isn’t used much by Ferals in PvE, though it’s pretty common in PvP. In terms of leveling and questing I like to use this when I’m gathering mostly so that when I don’t want to fight a mob I’ll just root them in place, gather my node and then leave. If you’re a Bear that’s pretty much the only time you’ll cast Roots in PvE.

Teleport: Moonglade is a free ticket to your class trainer any time you want it. Moonglade also has a couple of professions trainers (Herbalism and…something else, I think) and a couple of vendors that sell items that often can be flipped on the AH for a decent profit.

Aquatic Form and Travel Form are both great for mobility, and they can both be cast while you’re in combat. They’re fantastic for PvP, and occasionally useful in PvE.

Omen of Clarity is worth mentioning because you’re going to see those two bars of green leaves pop up on your screen from time to time and you might as well know what it means. Omen of Clarity (OoC) essentially makes your next attack or heal free, so you generally want to make use of the OoC proc by casting a spell with the largest Rage/Energy/Mana cost that has the most benefit. For Feral that’s almost always going to be Mangle or sometimes Ferocious Bite in Cat form, though you may also want to use it for a quick Regrowth if you need some emergency healing.

Innervate doesn’t mean much to Ferals since you almost never use mana, but your healers will love you for casting it on them.

And last is Sooth. Sooth is very often overlooked by Druids because you get it at such an early level and yet have virtually no reason at all to use it. For leveling purposes this spell can pretty much be ignored since anything that does enrage on you will likely die within a matter of seconds if you’re attacking it in Cat form. In dungeons you’ll occasionally run into a boss that you can use this on where it’s useful, but it breaks Cat/Bear form so doing so is risky. The main reason why I mention it is because it does have some definite uses in PvP against Warriors and some class pets that have enrages.

Leveling a Feral Druid

  • Questing Single Mob Stealth: [Cat Form] Prowl, Tiger’s Fury, Ravage, Mangle, Rake, Ferocious Bite, Mangle spam
  • Questing Single Mob No Stealth: [Cat Form] Tiger’s Fury, Mangle, Rake, Mangle x1-3, Ferocious Bite
  • Questing Multi-Mob: [Bear Form] Mangle (mob 1), Demoralizing Roar, Maul, Swipe, Maul, Mangle (mob 2), Swipe, Maul

Questing Single Mob
The fastest way to kill things 1v1 is to use Prowl to sneak up behind them, pop Tiger’s Fury for added damage, and then use Ravage for big burst damage followed by Mangle for even more burst. If the mob manages to survive, you follow that with Rake’s bleed effect which is 30% stronger thanks to Mangle’s debuff, and then Ferocious Bite as a finisher. If the mob still isn’t dead, switch to spamming your Mangle attack until the mob is either dead or has 5 combo points on it at which time you Ferocious Bite again and then return to Mangle spam.

Rarely should you ever have to worry about normal mobs surviving through that full rotation as a Feral.

While using stealth is often looked at as the “right” way to play a Feral, it’s not really necessary. It’s perfectly acceptable to just run up to something and Mangle it’s face a bit before using Ferocious Bite to finish them off. This is most effective when you’re in heirloom gear or other good gear for your level rather than a hodgepodge of whites and greens that don’t add Agility.

Questing Multi-Mob
Using AoE to take down groups of mobs is my favorite way to kill things. This rotation is also what you’ll use when tanking dungeons. Those four spells are the key to tanking form level 15 up to level 69. For that massive stretch of levels there’s virtually no change at all to your rotation for taking. You can assign Mangle, Maul, Swipe and Demo Roar to your 1-4 keys and after hitting Demo Roar once at the beginning of a fight you can spam 1-3 without even looking at your monitor for the rest of the encounter and you’ll do just fine.

The reason why I mention using Mangle on multiple targets is two fold. First, Mangle is your hardest hitting attack so spreading out that big damage will help bring all of the mobs down faster and more evenly time-wise. Second, because Mangle increases Bleed damage by 30% which Maul takes advantage of even though it isn’t a Bleed effect. By default Maul only hits a single target, but with a Major Glyph you can make it hit two targets which is why it’s great for AoE situations.


How to Tank: 29 Feral Druid
Tanking on a Bear Druid is easy while you’re leveling. Before patch 4.3 it was a little bit tougher because Bear Form didn’t get its full defensive bonus until higher levels, but now you get it from level 15 on. To see which spells you’ll be using as a Bear, refer to the Bear Spells section above for a list of all the spells you’ll need to have ready in this level range.

Tanking as a Bear is incredibly simple at early levels. It can be a little bit boring since you’ll be using the same three attack spells over and over as they come off of cooldown, but tabbing through multiple enemies to keep threat spread out over all the mobs can keep it a bit more interesting.

Pulling
There are three methods of pulling that you can use: body pull, feral charge, and faerie fire.

Body Pulling is simply running into the group of mobs and letting the presence of your toon draw the agro. This is the simplest method of pulling, but also the least effective since it generates no threat at all.

Feral Charge is a bit more effect since it’s a gap closer, meaning you rush right in quickly and get started with combat and threat right away.

Faerie Fire is much like Feral Charge except that the range is longer and you’re not closing the gap any faster than with a body pull.

The most effective way to start a pull is to combine those last to. You do this by casting Faerie Fire on the target furthest away from you, then casting Feral Charge on the mob closest to the center of the pack you’re about to pull (any mob in the cluster will work, though).

Once you’re in range of the mobs your first priority is to cast Demoralizing Roar to reduce the damage of all of those mobs. From there you move on to your damage rotation.

Damage Rotation
Until you learn Lacerate at level 66 there are only three spells you’ll need to worry about for your damage rotation: Mangle, Maul and Swipe.

Mangle is a solid burst of damage on a single target, with a 6 second cooldown.
Maul is reasonable damage on a single target, with a 3 second cooldown..
Swipe is an AoE attack that hits all enemies within 8 yards of you, with a 3 second cooldown.

You want to try to use Mangle on each target in the pack at least once so that Mangles +30% Bleed damage debuff is on as many targets as possible. The reason for this is that Maul benefits from Mangle’s debuff even though it’s not actually a Bleed effect. Another reason why we’re spreading it around instead of just focusing one target is because you also want to use the Glyph of Maul which makes Maul hit two targets instead of one, so being able to increase Maul’s damage by 30% on multiple targets is just free, extra damage.

Since Maul and Swipe both have 3 second cooldowns, you’ll alternate these a lot, with Mangle thrown in when it’s available.

If you’re facing a boss or a single mob, you can leave Swipe off the list and just use Mangle/Maul as they’re available, filling in the empty spaces with Faerie Fire until you have 3 stacks of it (the max).

Taunts and Drawing Agro
Bears have two taunts, one that’s single target and one that’s area.

Growl has a single target, and an 8 second cooldown.
Challenging Roar hits all mobs within 10 yards, forcing agro (not threat*) for 6 seconds, and has a 3 minute cooldown.

Growl is going to be your primary taunt because of it’s significantly shorter cooldown. The main thing you need to know about taunts, if they’re unfamiliar to you, is that terms of threat a Taunt puts your threat equal to the person who currently has threat. So if their threat is 500 and yours is only 300, your threat meter immediately jumps up to 500 to match theirs. This is important to remember because taunting something doesn’t just instantly guarantee that the problem is going away. Unless you do something to generate more threat on that target than whoever had threat before is continuing to generate on them, you’re going to lose it again.

For example, if a Mage pulls threat on one mob and you taunt it, but don’t do anything else, if that Mage continues to cast spells against that mob he’s going to steal threat again as soon as he reaches 130% of your threat level (assuming he’s at caster range and not melee range, or else it’s only 110%). The way you combat that is to use attacks on that specific mob to generate a significant enough threat lead that you will not lose threat again before the mob is dead.

If you taunt a mob and they’re not close enough for you to just hit them right away to reestablish agro, use other means of generating agro such as Faerie Fire or use your Feral Charge to close in with the stray mob, followed with Mangle to boost your threat back up.

Challenging Roar forces everything in its radius to fight you for 6 seconds no matter what the threat levels are. Even if your threat level is 300 and theirs is 3 million, you’ve got agro for those 6 seconds. The key issue here though, is that this isn’t an actual taunt. A taunt resets your threat level to match whoever had threat at the time, where this spell leaves threat levels where they are an instead just makes the targets ignore everyone else until the spell ends.

In order to use this spell effectively you need to follow it up immediately with as much AoE as you can. That means hitting Swipe, Maul, Demoralizing Roar, and anything else you have to throw at them (like Engineering explosives). As a Bear you generate threat at 5 times the amount of damage that you put out, and no DPS classes near your level should be able to put out 500% of your damage. Certain spells, like Faerie Fire, also generate threat which is not based solely on damage, but you don’t need to know all the math behind those so I’m not going to mention it.

[Note: I've had some trouble finding the exact percentages that are used currently for pulling threat. General consensus on twitter was that 110% is correct for melee range threat, while there's some confusion on ranged being 120% or 130%. I'm not an expert on threat, so if I got the numbers right just let me know and I'll get it corrected.]

Talent Spec: 29 Feral Druid

  • Feral Swiftness 2/2: Increases your movement speed by 30% in Cat Form and increases your chance to doge while in Cat or Bear forms by 4%. In addition, your Dash and Stampeding Roar have a 100% chance to remove all movement impairing effects from affected targets when used.
  • Furor 3/3: Grants a 100% chance to gain 10 Rage when you shift into Bear form, allows you to keep up to 100 of your Energy when shifting into Cat form, and increases your maximum mana by 15%.
  • Fury Swipes 3/3: When you auto-attack while in Cat or Bear form, you have a 15% chance to cause a Fury Swipe dealing 310% weapon damage. This effect cannot occur more than once every 3 seconds.
  • Primal Fury 2/2: Gives a 100% chance to gain an additional 5 Rage anytime you get a critical strike while in Bear form and your critical strikes from Cat form abilities that add combo points have a 100% chance to add an additional combo point.
  • Feral Charge 1/1: Teaches Feral Charge (Bear) and Feral Charge (Cat). Bear – causes you to charge an enemy, immobilizing them for 4 seconds, 15 second cooldown. Cat – causes you to leap behind an enemy, dazing them for 3 seconds, 30 second cooldown.

This is the spec that I would recommend for level 29, regardless of whether you want to be a Bear tank or a Cat DPS. I have some alternative suggestions down below, in case you like the sound of some of those better for your early leveling. The Feral tree is packed with lots of really cool talents, and depending on what your focus is in game you may prefer one over another.

Feral Swiftness is one of the more iconic talents of the feral spec, allowing you to move faster in Cat form and granting an extra 4% dodge while you’re in a feral form. Increasing your movement speed is often considered a trait of PvP, but it’s a quality of life thing that does have uses in PvE as well. I suggest you spend both of your first points to max this out.

Furor is a stable for every Druid, regardless of spec. For Ferals the main thing is free Rage when shifting into Bear form and not having your Energy drained when shifting into Cat form. It’s a big time saver, and it’s especially useful when tanking so that you’re not constantly having to body pull and start from scratch every time.

Fury Swipes is free damage. Whether that free damage is helping you deal more damage as a Cat, or it’s helping you deal more damage (and thus, more threat) as a Bear, it’s helping no matter what.

Primal Fury is the most changeable talent on my list. It gives you free Rage as a Bear and free combo points as a Cat, which both serve to make you more effective in combat. This is more important for Cats than it is for Bears as oftentimes you can end up with excessive amounts of Rage as a Bear and nothing to dump them into, where a Cat can often end up starved for energy and get better damage on their finishing moves from free combo points without having to spend the energy to generate those points otherwise.

Substitutions:
If you’re going for a straight Cat build and you know you have no interest in tanking, then there are a couple of other choices you might want to consider.

Predatory Strikes 2/2 is a good substitute for points from Furor. It will give you an extra 50% crit chance when using Ravage on targets above 80% health, and give your finishing moves a 20% chance per combo point to make your next Nature spell an instant cast and cost no mana. This is very much a PvP talent, but it also adds survivability in PvE by giving you access to free and instant healing or crowd control spells.

All four of the talents on the 2nd tier of the Feral tree are good. Infected Wounds 2/2 causes your primary attack skills to slow the target’s movement by 25% and their attack speed by 10% which is great for survival and PvP. Feral Aggression 2/2 increases your Ferocious Bite damage by 10% and causes your Faerie Fire spell to apply all 3 stacks of FF in a single cast.

Glyphs

Prime Glyphs

There’s really no question of which glyph is better for you here. Mangle is your primary attack for both Feral forms. The only time I would settle for Tiger’s Fury is if you can’t find or can’t afford Mangle.

Major Glyphs

If you’re going to participate in Bear tanking, use Maul. If you’re a crazy cat lady, use Ferocious Bite. If you don’t have heirlooms, use Thorns.

Maul gives you no benefit as a Cat, and FerBite gives you no benefit as a Bear, so if you’re going to specialize in one or the other then don’t go for a glyph that does you no good.

Thorns does a lot of damage for a cast-and-forget spell, but only if enemies have enough time to hit you. If you have fully enchanted heirlooms and you’re slaying things in a couple of globals, then Thorns isn’t useful to you either.

Minor Glyphs

I’m going to leave the minor glyphs up to you. Personally, I love the Aquatic Form glyph because I hate moving slow and I love taking advantage of water areas in PvP that my opponents cannot. Dash is another favorite of mine since I’m all about moving faster and doing it often. Unburdened Rebirth is first on the list because in practical terms it’s got the most benefit in the long run if you play with other people in your group.

Gearing Up Your Feral Druid
When choosing your gear your top priority is Agility regardless of being a Cat or a Bear. If you’re a Bear tank then your secondary stat is Stamina. If you’re a Cat, then your secondary stat is Agility.

No, that wasn’t a typo.

Other stats that interest you are: Hit, Crit (Cat), Haste, and Dodge (Bears).

You can get some pretty decent Agility gear from the Leatherworking profession at all levels. It’s the one profession I have never maxed on any of my characters, so I don’t wish it upon anyone, but if you know a LW or have on already then you can get yourself some decent upgrades in advance.

If you like to run dungeons, you can get some pretty nice upgrades.
Ragefire Chasm: Chest, Cloak
Deadmines: Cloak, Weapon, Legs
Wailing Caverns: Chest, Belt, Boots, Legs, Gloves, Shoulders
Shadowfang Keep: Shoulders
Blackfathom Deeps: Legs, Bracers, Weapon, Gloves
Stormwind Stockades: Helm (Alliance only), Boots, Legs
Gnomeregan: Rings, Bracers, Chest (Alliance only),

Macros
At Cynwise’s suggestion, I’ve decided to put the macros for each class on their own page. For Druid macros, simply click on the following link, or look under the Macros menu at the top of this page: Druid Macros.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Druid, Guide, Leveling, Macro, Melee, Player vs Player

 

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Shadow Priest PvP Guide

PLEASE NOTE: This guide was written in 2011 and has not been updated since. Some of the information is still applicable, but as far as actually playing the class consider all of this incredibly outdated.

It occurred to me a few days ago that I haven’t actually put anything related to Shadow Priest PvP on the blog since shortly after I first started. Since that’s really the only thing I’ve done on that toon since the time I first got into arenas, I think it’s time I shared some of what I’ve learned.

As Fox Van Allen of WoW Insider was looking for Shadow PvP sources for his article this week, I decided I’d better fire up that speech-to-text software and get my virtual blogging fingers moving.

Getting Your Rear in Gear
The first step of getting into PvP is your gear. If you’re starting from scratch then your quickest method of gearing is crafted gear, which will be consist of pieces from the Bloodthirsty Embersilk and Bloodthirsty Fireweave sets. Overall, the Embersilk set has more pieces with the stats you’re looking for, but you should look at Fireweave as well just in case there are pieces you’d rather have from it (the Fireweave Pants in particular). The only set bonus on these is a 2 piece that grants +400 Resilience, which most likely stacks if you want to grab at least two pieces from each set for twice the bonus.

These new crafted pieces are actually really good, almost as good as the Vicious pieces. While they’re very close in raw stats, even higher in some cases, than the Vicious gear, they have a comparatively weak set bonus and no sockets where the Vicious gear has 8.

From there you’ll have to start your grinds of Honor and Conquest points to purchase better gear. Honor farming will get you the Vicious Gladiator’s Raiment and Vicious Gladiator’s Investiture sets. The Raiment set is the DPS version, and Investiture is the “healer” version. I list both of them because even though the healer version is supposed to be for healers, many Shadow Priests will still prefer it over the Raiment for the 4 piece set bonus since the DPS 4pc kind of sucks.

Blizzard has discussed methods of preventing Priests from getting dual 2pc bonuses by taking some pieces from both sets, but as far as I know they haven’t actually done it yet so you can still double-dip in the Vicious sets, or you can go for the 4pc bonus of your choice. The Raiment gives you Crit, Haste, and Mastery while the Investiture gives you Spirit (Hit), Crit, and Haste. The Raiment 4pc lowers the cast time of your nukes while the 4pc Investiture makes your PW:Shield remove movement impairing effects and make you immune to slows for 4 seconds when cast on yourself.

Regardless of which Vicious set you aim for first, make sure your first purchase is the gloves for an extra 3 seconds off of your Psychic Scream cooldown. Gloves are cheap, and they’re the only piece that offers an additional bonus on top of just raw stats, so they’re your best initial purchase.

Once you start farming your Conquest points via Arenas and Rated Battlegrounds, it’s time to start grabbing Ruthless Gladiator’s set pieces. The set bonuses and which stats are given from which set remain the same as the Vicious set, they just have higher values of the attributes. If you want your gloves to be your first Ruthless purchase instead of your first Vicious, that’s fine as well.

I’d give you a Wowhead link to the Ruthless gear, but those links are a little odd right now. If you want to look at individual pieces then you can do a search for “Ruthless Gladiator’s” on Wowhead and it will pull up the list for you. Once Wowhead gets the items linked right, I’ll add a link to the post, but right now the set bonus is linking back to a set a few seasons ago so I’m going to leave it out for now.

Are You Ready? (Stat Goals)
There are a few stat goals that you want to meet before you get started with PvP, though what goals you have is going to depend on what PvP activity we’re talking about.

If you’re just now getting started and BG’s are what you’re focusing on, then just go in there with whatever you’ve got quick and easy access to. If that’s all PvE gear, that’s fine. If you can get your hands on some crafted pieces or have some Honor points sitting around for Vicious, then grab what you can and keep on going.

If you’re getting ready for Arenas, then you want to shoot for around 1,500-2,000 Resilience before you get started unless you aren’t too bothered by losses. If you’re looking at RBG’s or more serious Arena play, then you want to shoot for a minimum of 3,000 Resilience before you get too serious about them.

Spell Penetration is a pretty big deal. If you’re new to BG’s then whatever you can get is better than nothing. If you’re looking at serious play though, then you want to shoot for the cap of 240. This cap is easy to hit, you can do it with a cloak and a ring, or a cloak and an enchant and call it done, but make sure you don’t skip out on this cap. Only Mages can actually reach that 240 range, while all of the other classes can be covered by just 195. Mages can deal some crazy burst damage though, so I suggest you aim for 240.

Hit is another important stat, and PvP being PvP, the cap on hit is fairly low. Shoot for around 4-5% hit, preferably through the use of Spirit rather than the actual Hit stat so that you’re getting mana regeneration out of the deal as well. A lot of off-set PvP gear will give you the option between a piece that offers Hit and another that offers the same amount worth of Spirit – always go for the Spirit piece. You’re shooting for somewhere between 400-500 Spirit to hit that cap.

Spec’tacular (Shadow PvP Spec)

Above is spec that I prefer to use in the arenas. I didn’t put any points Improved Shadow Word: Pain which other shadow priests often ask about, mostly because I rarely use my DoT spells when doing arenas, which is my preferred method of PvP at level 85. I also didn’t put any points into Paralysis, even though it’s another CC ability, which is another question often asked. This one I don’t use mostly because it’s only situationally useful, and in my arena teams our first kill target is usually a caster which makes limiting their movement worth very little.

Improved SW:Pain isn’t bad if you’re actually using your DoT’s. If I were focused on larger arena teams or BG/RBG’s then I might try to find points I could place there. Paralysis can be good, especially against melee teams or in other PvP settings, I just don’t take it as a matter of personal preference for my 2v2 setups.

Glyphs
I use the glyphs that best fit my playstyle. With 2v2 being my focus, I’m primarily dealing damage via nukes rather than DoT’s and using my glyphs for extra survivability or utility.

Prime: Dispersion, SW: Death, Mind Flay
Major: Psychic Horror, Fade, Mass Dispel
Minor: Fading, Levitate, Fortitude

Dispersion reduces the spell’s cooldown, which is especially useful to me in arenas and RBG’s. SW:Death causes the cooldown to instantly reset itself once per 6 seconds if you cast it on a target below 25% health and it doesn’t kill them, which is almost always when you’re dealing with PvP targets because of Resilience; it’s one of the most important glyphs you can take if you’re going to do arena. Mind Flay is the only damage spell that I use in every match regardless of my opponents or which form of PvP I’m doing, so I take it over SW:Pain because I know I’ll utilize it no matter what.

Psychic Horror is one of the most useful spells we have access to, so reducing it’s cooldown by any amount is worth it to me. Fade is great for reducing the cooldown of its spell which allows me to break movement debuffs with Fade instead of having to potentially waste something more important like Dispersion. Mass Dispel is one I value a lot for reducing the cast time of Mass Dispel down to 0.5 seconds, as the reaction time on removing a Paladin’s bubble can easily be the difference between victory and defeat, and not removing a DK’s ice cubes in time can cost your team a BG match.

The minor glyphs are all pretty boring. I use Fading only because there’s so many freaking Frost DK’s out there right now slowing me every 2 seconds, so reducing its mana cost is a real bonus. Fortitude is for those Purge-happy Shamans out there removing your buffs like nobody’s business, cutting the cost of reapplying the buff in half. Levitate is there just because I hate dealing with reagents and never want to find myself needing to do a crucial BG jump only to find in midair that I have no reagents.

Your Tears Fuel Me… (Crowd Control and Cooldowns)
Arena matches are more or less decided by two things: Crowd Control and Cooldowns.

Crowd Control
We have a few different forms of Crowd Control (CC) available to us. First up is Psychic Scream, an AoE fear spell. By default this has a 30 second cooldown, which can be lowered by 4 seconds with talent points, and by an additional 3 points with the PvP Gloves. You can also use the Glyph of Psychic Scream to cause the targets to tremble in place instead of runny around crazily, but it increases the cooldown by 3 seconds. I’m not a fan of using the glyph for this spell, but I do love reducing its cooldown for more frequent use. You can use this spell either defensively, causing melee targets to run away from you or your teammates, or you can use it offensively as a spell interrupt or to get some free cast time on a target while he and/or his healer can’t respond.

Next up is Psychic Horror, a talent-purchased spell that causes the target to tremble in horror for 3 seconds and also disarms them for 10 seconds. The default cooldown on this beauty is 2 minutes, though you can lower it to a minute and a half with the Glyph of Psychic Horror which I definitely suggest that you do. Defensively, I use this to strip melee classes of their weapons and to get some distance from them (or closing that distance if it’s a Hunter). Offensively, I typically cast this on healers to either burn them or their teammate(s) down during the 3 second “stun”.

Next we have, Silence which is semi-CC, I guess. It’s a ranged silence that lasts for 5 seconds. The cooldown is 45 seconds long, and sadly there’s nothing you can do to reduce that. Defensively this is best used on enemy casters, Paladins, or Shamans. You can also use it defensively on Warriors, especially when you see them rushing into a group of your team during BG’s as they’ll often use their Shouts which this will stop. Offensively, this is for healers first and DPS casters second. I typically use this on healers unless I’m facing a Mage, in which case I’ll hit the Mage right after he burns his cooldowns.

Then we have the crowd favorite, Mind Control which lets you take control of an opponent for a few seconds. In BG’s I use this to make people jump off of cliffs, or in AV I like to control the tank or healer while they’re fighting our bosses. In Arena this is best used either to remove a healer while your partner(s) focus the DPS, to force people into Line of Sight (LoS) situations, or in a chain AoE effect. The chain AoE effect is Mind Control (which turns them into an ally), Leap of Faith to pull them to you (which also breaks the MC channel, turning them back into an enemy), and then Psychic Scream to fear them away.

Last on our list is the nearly worthless, Shackle Undead. It’s only useful against Death Knight ghouls in PvP. I see very, very few DK’s in PvP actually using their ghouls right now other than to summon and then immediately sacrifice for health. Power shifts all the time though, so you want this somewhere that you can easily cast it even if it doesn’t necessarily merit its own keybind.

Cooldowns
We have a lot of really good cooldowns as well. Some of our cooldowns are also our CC, but here are the others.

Fade doesn’t seem much like a PvP cooldown at first glance, but talents in the Shadow tree cause it to become one. By default its only real use is to make enemy pets drop you as their target, though that typically only works in BG’s against people who don’t really know what they’re doing. The cooldown is 30 seconds, but you can reduce that by 9 seconds with the Glyph of Fade and another 6 seconds with the Veiled Shadows talent. The Phantasm talent in the Shadow tree also causes Fade to remove all movement impairing effects which is why it’s on my cooldowns list. I do use the Glyph of Fade, but don’t get it confused with the Glyph of Fading which just reduces the mana cost.

Fear Ward is a fairly good defensive cooldown, preventing the next fear effect used on the target. It has a 3 minute duration and a 3 minute cooldown, with a glyph that reduces the cooldown and duration by 60 seconds. I don’t bother with the glyph, but I do like the spell itself. The best use of this spell is to use it when you actually need it rather than just starting the match off with it, but it’s hard to judge when your opponents might use a fear and when they won’t so you might want to use it as a starting buff regardless if you’re not good at reading your opponents.

Hymn of Hope is a mana regenerating cooldown, the use of which is hard to really say in a blog post as it can be very situational. It’s a channeled spell that can restore mana to your teammates as well, but because it’s channeled it leaves you vulnerable. If you have a chance to cast it without being harassed then great, but if not then you’re best bet is to get whatever use out of it you can and sick your Shadowfiend on someone either right before or right after you cast Hymn of Hope. Doing this will maximize your mana return. The cooldown on this sucker is a whopping 6 minutes, so don’t expect to be able to use it very often.

Shadowfiend is a really cool mana return cooldown which summons a little shadow monster to go beat up your enemies and restore your mana every time he hits. The cooldown is 5 minutes, but it can be reduced by 10 seconds with points in Sin and Punishment and another 60 seconds with points in Veiled Shadows. The glyph is pretty mediocre, and I wouldn’t suggest it as my Shadowfiend almost never gets killed.

Divine Hymn is an AoE healing cooldown. It’s similar to a Druid’s Tranquility spell, restoring a fair amount of health to targets within range while you channel it. I use it for my 2v2 team every now and then, but most often in BG’s and RBG’s.

Leap of Faith is a fantastic spell, pulling a friendly target to yourself. The cooldown on this one is 1.5 minutes with no way to reduce it. I most often use this to actually save my teammates in arena, pulling them to me followed by a bubble and then a heal if I can afford it and have the time to do so, or to just give them time to run and heal themselves or whatever they can do. However, you can also use this offensively both to pull your melee members over to a target or in a CC combo that I mentioned above which is to Mind Control an enemy, followed by Leap of Faith to bring them to you, followed by Psychic Scream to make them run away. This is best used on healers, but it’s also great for peeling melee off of your teammates.

Dispersion is last up on the list, our keystone talent at the end of the Shadow tree. Dispersion is great for restoring your mana, but it’s also fantastic for breaking out of CC since it removes all roots and snares, and it also reduces all the damage you take by 90% while it’s active. The cooldown on this is 2 minutes, but can be reduced by 45 seconds with the Glyph of Dispersion. I usually use this for the damage reduction, and pretty often for the mana regen as well. I usually cast either a Psychic Scream or a PW:Shield when the effect wears off, depending on the situation. I like to try to force tunnel visioned melee targets to follow me during Dispersion and then CC them where I can LoS their healers before burning them down.

Face Melting (Offensive Spells)
There are two methods of damage dealing that we can use: direct damage and damage over time.

For arenas I almost never bother with DoT’s other than to pressure healers. With so many high-burst classes in arenas right now I have to go with direct damage in 2v2 which means Mind Spike and Mind Blast spam. Using these nukes along with CC, I typically kill my focus target within two rotations unless I’m forced to play defensively. When I’m forced to defense, I will use my DoT’s, but if there’s a healer on the other team I won’t bother unless I can afford the time to cast Vampiric Touch first. I use Mind Flay primarily to set up Archangel procs for mana regen and the damage boost, or to slow melee that are harassing my team, or to slow our kill target if he’s trying to get LoS.

When I’m doing a direct damage rotation I use either Mind Spike x2, Vampiric Touch, Mind Blast, or Mind Spike x3, Mind Blast, depending on my current mana situation. To get the most damage out of this rotation you want to build up your Shadow Orbs (at least 1, 3 if possible) through Mind Flay cast, activate Archangel once you’ve got 5 stacks of Evangelism, and then go to town with the nukes.

In BG’s or in 3v3+ arenas I use my DoT’s all the time to keep pressure on as many people at once as I can so that I can then focus my nukes on the healers. When I’m not in 2v2 arena, I also tend to use the majority of my cooldowns and CC defensively, save for when we’re burning down a healer or a flag carrier in which case I’m likely all offense. If you are going to use your DoT’s, then your optimal rotation is SW:Pain, Mind Flay until you get at least 1 Shadow Orb, Mind Blast, Vampiric Touch, Devouring Plague, and then spam Mind Flay.

Devouring Plague deserves a special mention here because it’s our only source of spammable, instant damage. The mana cost for spamming it is pretty steep, but if you need to kill someone who’s low on health or you need to get them within that 25% range so that SW:Death deals its full damage, then it’s worth the price. Typically, I kill targets with SW:Death casts, and it usually takes two casts to kill someone, but for those times that I don’t manage to finish them off Devouring Plague is the answer.

Shadow Word: Death is how I kill almost every target because that’s what it does and it does it well. With all the resilience and healing that goes on in PvP though, I almost never kill a target with a single cast, I have to have the Glyph of SW:Death to instantly remove its cooldown when it fails to kill so that I can cast it again. When I’m not close to killing someone, and I have spent at least 10% of my mana, I use SW:Death if it’s active to trigger the Masochism talent which restores 10% of your mana when SW:Death fails to kill a target.

Heward’s Handy Haversack (Other Useful Spells)
You get bonus points if you know where that title came from, and extra bonus points if I spelled it wrong and you can prove it.

Some spells that you need to keep in mind whenever you’re doing PvP can be the deciding factor in a match.

Power Word: Shield is one of the few healing-type abilities that we can use that doesn’t kick us out of Shadow Form. In my 2v2 team I’m typically casting this on my partner because everyone loves to focus him while they let me melt their faces. When my partner switches to his other toon in the team though, the rolls are switched. Combining PW:Shield with Dispersion, Fade, Psychic Scream/Horror, and Silence make me one of the best kiting machines around which is often an easy when if we’re facing opponents prone to tunnel vision.

Cure Disease does just what it says, and it too can be cast without breaking Shadow Form. Other Shadow Priests are about the only ones you’ll use this against.

Dispel Magic isn’t quite as great as it used to be (no) thanks to current changes which allow only the healing specs to dispel your teammates. You can either remove two Magic debuffs from yourself or to remove 1 buff from an opponent. I don’t often use this offensively, even though I really should, instead I’m typically defensive with this.

Mind Vision is a spell that so many Priests simply dismiss, but it’s so incredibly useful in PvP. It won’t do you much good in arenas because they’re all so small, but in BG’s and RBG’s it’s fantastic. I use this most often to track down EFC’s so that I can tell my team where the flag is going, or to find my own EFC to know his path so that I can move to assist him. It’s also great for spying on other locations around a map such as Arathi basin or Eye of the Storm, though, allowing me to report on the defenses of each location.

Mana Burn is another spell ignored by the PvE crowd, which means a large portion of the PvP crowd forgets it exists as well. If you’re having trouble bringing down a healer, it’s because you didn’t burn his mana first. It’s especially effective against Paladin healers, but it’s a great spell against any caster. Whether you’re better off burning mana or just nuking someone has way too many variables for me to go over, but definitely do not ignore this spell, especially in arenas.

Holy Nova deserves a mention just to find those stinking Rogues, Druids, and Mages (invisibility). You don’t want to spam this because of its mana cost, but it’s the only proactive method you have to finding stealthers.

Mass Dispel is last up on this list. It’s an AoE dispell that can clear up to 10 debuffs from your team and up to 10 buffs from your opponents. The most important thing to remember about this spell is that it can dispel buffs that are otherwise impervious; namely a Paladin’s bubble and a Mage’s Ice Block spell. Letting a Paladin be immune to everything for 10 seconds is never a good idea if you can help it, nor is allowing your whole team to sit frozen in a Death Knight’s Hungering Cold spell. Mass Dispel can take care of all of that. And don’t forget to use the glyph that goes with it, reducing its cast time from 1.5 seconds down to 0.5 seconds.

 

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Priest Leveling: 30-49 Holy

Project High Heals
Holy Priest 1-29

Today we’re going to take a look at the next level range for Holy Priests. I’ve been doing quite well on my Holy Priest, Psynister. In the project High Heals portfolio he’s intended to do most of his leveling via dungeons, though that has slowed down for him a bit since getting to Outlands. Queues are taking quite a while, and it’s actually DPS slots that are hard to fill. I guess everyone’s busy leveling tanks and healers right now.

That’s the short and sweet update on Psynister, now lets take a closer look at how to level your own Holy Priest.

Playing a Holy Priest
As I mentioned in the first Holy Priest post, I was a little concerned about leveling a Priest and doing so with a healing spec. Most of that came from their low level problems with mana, but also because I knew my damage was going to suck. My recent experience leveling a Shadow Priest helped me overcome the first of those, while I found the second to not be nearly as bad as I was anticipating.

I don’t hesitate to say that low level PvP as Holy really sucked. I did a pretty fair amount of PvP on Psynister, though of coarse not as much as I did random dungeons. I found that in early PvP I just didn’t have the output on either the healing or killing side of of the fence to really do much of anything. Either my heals were crap, or I ran out of mana too fast to really be useful, or the opponents saw me healing and focused me down. Life in PvP as Holy is freaking hard.

Healing dungeons is, of course, where I definitely shined. Most dungeons I can heal almost entirely with Power Word: Shield and Renew, with a few Heal casts thrown in from time to time to help keep the tank topped off “just in case”. When the group was doing well with agro I had no problems at all. When DPS started to pull threat though, things got pretty chaotic and my mana issues really started to show. In dungeons where AoE damage exists it’s just downright brutal. Priests don’t have access to AoE healing at this level, the best you can do is throw bubbles/renew on multiple targets and hope for the best, but that drains your mana quick. (There’s another answer, called Lightwell, but I’ll get in to that later.)

Otherwise, I found playing a Holy Priest to be very fun in Dungeons, not so much in PvP, but also surprisingly powerful in questing.

Holy-Specific Tips
Leveling as Holy isn’t too dissimilar from leveling as any other spec, it’s all in how you go about doing it. The most important thing to remember early on is not to waste your mana. Once you’ve got the mana management under control there’s no stopping you.

Questing – Your biggest hurdle in questing is your damage. You get almost nothing to buff your damage output as Holy, because you’re basically designed to be a healer. Using the Glyph of Smite becomes key for that reason, because increasing your damage output means you’re also spending less mana. Originally I had taken the Engineering profession to make use of explosives as a way to both increase my damage and decrease my mana consumption, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that it wasn’t necessary so I switched his professions.

Healing – Power Word: Shield and Renew are your best friends in this level range. I usually trade off between using those two, casting the next when the first wears off. Flash Heal is usually a waste of your mana, so you really want to save this for when there’s a real emergency. Heal is a great spell that I do use quite a bit thanks to its low mana cost. Mana is still an issue in the lower portion of this level range, so do your best not to using healing spells when they aren’t needed. You don’t have to top everyone off all the time if they’re not taking enough damage to require it.

Remember that your job as a healer is to help your group live long enough to kill the mobs. It’s not your job to see that everyone in the group has full health all the time, and it’s not your job to make sure nobody ever dies, you’re just there to keep people up until victory is achieved. Heal those who need healing in order for the group to be victorious. If you have a high DPS player who’s constantly pulling threat and causing you to spent a ton of mana to keep both them and the tank alive, let them die. You’re not there to enable morons, so save your mana for heals that matter and resurrect him when it’s over.

PvP – In PvP you’re usually going to need to rely more on your expensive heals and cut back on the slow, cheap heals. Bubbles and Flash Heals are very common in PvP, so expect to see your mana fluctuate a lot. In the 40’s you’re going to face Rogues, Warriors, Feral Druids, and Ret Paladins that are going to destroy you and everyone else. Melee DPS is incredibly powerful in the 40’s, so much so that I’m almost to the point that I refuse to even take part in PvP if my character is in the 40’s brackets.

Important Spells & Abilities
Note that all numeric values are taken from the level 29 version of the spell for the purposes of this post.

Level 30-39

  • Shackle Undead (32): Shackles the target undead enemy for up to 50 seconds. The shackled unit is unable to move, attack, or cast spells. Any damage caused will release the target. Only one target can be shackled at a time.
  • Shadow Word: Death (32): A word of dark binding that inflicts Shadow damage to the target. Deals three times as much damage to targets below 25% health. If the target is not killed by SW:Death, the caster takes damage equal to the damage inflicted upon the target.
  • Levitate (34): Allows the friendly party or raid target to levitate, floating a few feet above the ground. While levitating, the target will fall at a reduced speed and travel over water. Any damage will cancel the effect. Lasts 10 minutes.
  • Mind Vision (36): Allows the caster to see through the target’s eyes for 1 minute. Will not work if the target is in another instance or on another continent.
  • Greater Heal (38): A slow casting spell that heals a single target for 992 to 1152.
  • Mind Control (38): Controls a humanoid mind up to level 52, but increases the time between its attacks by 25%. Lasts up to 30 seconds.

I went ahead and listed Shackle Undead just because it’s really the only form of CC that you have access to. You’re not very likely to cast this while you’re leveling save for a few zones scattered here and there. There are a few dungeons that it’s useful in, such as Scholomance and Stratholme, but most of the time this spell is pretty useless. But, when you find yourself healing a group in Strath and the stupid tank refuses to taunt the stinking skeletons flinging Frostbolts at your face, a shackle will shut them down.

SW:Death is a great spell for finishing off targets who are low on health. The real benefit of the spell though is when you combine it with the Glyph of Spirit Tap, which causes SW:Death to restore 12% of your total mana when you kill a target with SW:Death. I suggest you grab that glyph the second you train this spell and start practicing the art of stealing all the killing blows. Just make sure you don’t accidentally kill yourself when casting it.

Levitate is a pretty cool buff, I especially like it for being able to walk on water. If you’ve ever read my Mage guides, you’ll also know I have a deep love for things that let me jump off of cliffs or dismount in midair and survive, so I love casting this thing all the time. The only drawback – you can’t jump when it’s active and that bugs me something fierce.

Mind Vision is a really cool spell, one that I absolutely love for PvP. Need to find out where your EFC is going to so you can heal him? Mind Vision! Need to know where the EFC is hiding so you can direct the assault team? Mind Vision! Need to help a group of clueless PUG’s in LFG find their way back to the group? Mind Vision!!! I use LFG a lot, and I’m real big on farming low level content for drops, mats, or to rush lowbies through it. This means I’m very familiar with almost every dungeon map and can guide people to the group through almost any of them. I had to do it twice in Scholomance as many players who started in late BC or after have never even been there.

Greater Heal takes a while to cast, but it’s the single largest heal we have. I typically use this on a tank who’s low on hit points, right after I bubble him, or when he’s currently immune to a new bubble and needs a large heal.

Mind Control is one of the most enjoyable spells we have. There are few things I love doing more in PvP than making someone jump off of a cliff and die. In PvE I like to use it in dungeons to injure certain adds, pull additional mobs, or provide my own group with buffs from the mob. You probably won’t use it a whole lot as a healer outside of PvP, but it can definitely be fun to play with. In places like Alterac Valley, it’s especially fun to Mind Control the enemy tank or healer and then watch your mini-boss destroy people.

Level 40-49

  • Prayer of Healing (44): A powerful prayer heals the friendly target’s party members within 30 yards for 367 to 387.
  • Binding Heal (48): Heals a friendly target and the caster for 564 to 724. Low threat.

Prayer of Healing is your first real AoE healing spell. It’s not great, but it’s pretty much like casting Heal on everyone at the same time. The good thing is, you’re getting that healing out to the whole team, the bad thing is, the heal itself is relatively weak. At this level range though, it will likely save you from a wipe if you need it. A very important note about this spell though, especially for PvP, is that it does not require line of sight to heal your team, so you can use it to heal through walls.

Binding Heal is a great spell. It costs the same amount of mana and cast time as Flash Heal so it’s definitely not cheap, but it heals for just a little bit less than Flash Heal and that healing hits both you and your target. It’s like poor man’s AoE, healing two targets instead of an actual area. The special thing to note about Binding Heal is that both of its heals essentially count as individual healing effects for the purpose of most procs that trigger off of healing or critical effects.

Leveling a Holy Priest

  • Questing Single Mob: Mind Blast, (HW: Chastise), Holy Fire, Smite spam, SW: Death
  • Questing Multi-Mob: [target 1] Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague, [target 2] Mind Blast, Holy Fire, Smite spam, [when possible] SW: Death

Questing Single Mob
I pull with Mind Blast mostly because it’s cheap on mana and it has a short cast time. I often follow that up with Holy Word: Chastise to take advantage of it’s stunning effect while I cast the next spell, but with a 30 second cooldown it’s not always available and I don’t worry about it. Holy Fire does good damage with a short cast time, and it applies a DoT debuff. That debuff allows the Glyph of Smite to activate which increases Smite damage, which you’ll cast repeatedly (spam) until the target is dead or near death. At that point you want to finish off the target with Shadow Word: Death. Another of our glyphs, Glyph of Spirit Tap, restores 12% of your base mana over time when you kill a target with SW:Death.

If you’re healing in a dungeon you’ll use a similar rotation for damage if your tank has a lot of survivability and doesn’t need much healing. Whether you’re going to deal damage in dungeons or not, you still want to snipe every killing blow you can with SW:Death casts so that you can get the 12% mana regeneration from the Glyph of Spirit Tap. If you’re not using that glyph, then you don’t need to worry about getting the killing blows, but if you have mana issues then this is your most reliable solution.

Questing Multi-Mob
When I’m facing multiple mobs as Holy I do go ahead and use my DoT’s, but only on a single target. DoT the first target, burn the second one down, and then finish off the first with Smite spam. If you pull more than two, then still just DoT the first target and then leave him alone while you focus on the others so that your DoT’s can actually deal their damage and be worth the mana it costs to cast them.

The higher you get in level though, the less useful those DoT’s become. Now that I’m in Outland I find that casting those DoT’s doesn’t deal anywhere near enough damage to justify their mana cost, and they do very little in the way of actually helping me through the encounter or killing mobs faster. Damage is damage, but I don’t know that I’m actually saving any time at all by using them.

At this level rang, though, the DoT’s are at least pretty decent so go ahead and use them, but feel free to use your mana on bubbles/heals instead and just burn them down one at a time.

How to Heal: 49 Holy Priest
When you’re actually filling your healing role rather than questing it’s probably a good idea for you to have a clue how to actually, you know, heal. The numbers in the next section are based on the level 49 version of the spell, unmodified by talents or gear.

Healing Spells
Flash Heal: 28% base mana, 1.5 second cast, heals for 744-864
Power Word: Shield: 34% base mana, instant cast, absorbs damage
Renew: 17% base mana, instant cast, heals 145 every 3 sec for 12 sec.
Heal: 9% base mana, 3 second cast, heals for 372-432
Greater Heal: 27% base mana, 3 second cast, heals for 992-1152
Prayer of Healing: 26% base mana, 2.5 second cast, heals party members within 30 yards for 367-387
Binding Heal: 28% base mana, 1.5 second cast, heals target and caster for 564-724

Resurrect: 60% base mana, 10 second cast, non-combat resurrection
Cure Disease: 16% base mana, instant cast, removes 1 disease
Dispel Magic: 16% base mana, instant cast, removes 2 harmful magic effects

Your most expensive spell as a healer continues to be PW:Shield. The damage that it absorbs is pretty significant even though you’re not using a Discipline spec. I do use this quite a bit, but rarely will I use it on anyone other than the tank or myself. Flash Heal and Binding Heal are tied for the next highest base mana cost, and for cast time as well. Flash Heal restores more health to the single target, but Binding Heal restores almost the same amount of health and does so to both you and your target making it my usual preference if I’ve taken any damage at all.

Greater Heal is next on the list of highest mana cost, but it’s the single largest heal you have available to you. Talent points can cause some of your other heals (Flash and Binding) to reduce both the cast time and mana cost of this spell which can really help if you need to put out a lot of healing a short amount of time. It does have a long cast time, but the heal is worth it if you have either a bubble or a renew up to help bide the time you need to get this big boy off.

Prayer of Healing comes next, and thank the Light we finally have some AoE heals! Granted, it doesn’t heal for all that much, but it’s a shorter cast time than Heal and restores roughly the same amount of health as a Heal, except it does it to your entire party. Also, this heal does not require line of sight to heal your party, which is extremely useful in PvP especially. You can use this when fighting bosses in AV by standing on the other side of a wall or even outside the building all together. You can use it in Arenas when you’re pillar humping, or in WSG when your flag carrier is on the roof and you’re down in the flag room.

Talent Spec: 49 Holy Priest

  • Holy Concentration (+2) 3/3: Increases the amount of mana regenerated from Spirit while in combat by an additional 30%.
  • Divine Touch 2/2: Your Renew will instantly heal the target for 10% of the total periodic effect.
  • Lightwell 1/1: Creates a Holy Lightwell. Friendly players can click the Lightwell to restore health of 6 seconds. Attacks done to you equal to 30% of your total health will cancel the effect. Lightwell lasts for 3 minutes or 10 charges.
  • Spirit of Redemption 1/1: Upon death, the priest becomes the Spirit of Redemption for 15 seconds. The Spirit of Redemption cannot move, attack, be attacked or targeted by any spells or effects. While in this form the priest can cast any healing spell free of cost. When the effect ends, the priest dies.
  • Serendipity 2/2: When you heal with Binding Heal or Flash Heal, the cast time of your next Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing spell is reduced by 20% and mana cost reduced by 10%. Stacks up to 2 times. Lasts 20 seconds.
  • Inspiration 2/2: Reduces your target’s physical damage taken by 20% for 15 seconds after getting a critical effect form your Flash Heal, Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal, Penance, Prayer of Mending, Prayer of Healing, or Circle of Healing spell.
  • Chakra 1/1: When activated, your next Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal, Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Mind Spike or Smite will put you into a Chakra state (see below).

With mana problems still plaguing you, Holy Concentration can be a real Light-sent blessing by increases your mana regeneration during combat. I chose to go with Divine Touch next since Renew was still one of my primary forms of healing at that level, and having it heal for 10% of its effect right when you cast it gives us both a small form of instant healing as well as allowing the rotation of bubble > renew > bubble to be even more effective.

I decided to pick up Lightwell next because I finally started to get into situations where healing more than one person at a time was really important and not just because people were being stupid. When you get into dungeons in your 30’s and 40’s, particularly Scholomance, you’re going to start facing AoE damage a lot more. You’ll see some of that in instances like Shadowfang Keep earlier, and Maraudon later on as well. While Lightwell doesn’t actually provide any AoE healing, it does allow your entire party to get their own HoT effect on demand by clicking to activate it, and it really has become a wonderful addition to my healing abilities.

I decided to go ahead and pick up Spirit of Redemption (or Fail Angel as it’s often called) next, mostly because I was getting th crap kicked out of me in PvP and wanted some options to heal when things went bad for us, and also because I had a string of random queues where the freaking tanks had no idea what a taunt was nor how to generate AoE threat which meant my face was served up as an appetizer. Being able to heal even after you’re dead seems like more of a raid tool, but it really does help in other situations as well.

Serendipity is the talent I mentioned earlier in the article that allows you to reduce the casting time and mana cost of your Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing. The main reason I took this was, again, because of our otherwise lack of AoE healing abilities. When things get hairy I try to Flash Heal/Binding Heal the two most injured target, and then either use Greater Heal on a target near death or Prayer of Healing for a smaller heal on the whole group. Doing this gives me the ability to dish out a solid amount of healing across the entire party in a fairly short amount of time. I do find it more useful in PvP than in LFG, and it would be even more useful in a raid.

Inspiration is a talent that I skipped early on because I had no need to reduce damage on my tanks when they almost never took any damage in the first place. The further I got though, the more useful something like this would be, so I picked it up. Whenever you get a crit with almost any of your healing spells, the target gains 10% damage reduction for 15 seconds.

And the last talent we get in this level bracket is Chakra, which is a completely new feature in this expansion. When you cast one of the triggering spells (listed in the description above), you enter a Chakra state related to the triggering spell. This Chakra state is basically a buff that stays active until cancelled. I’ll give more detail in the next section, but basically using Chakra either makes you better at single target healing, AoE healing, or better at dealing damage while questing.

Substitution: Serendipity isn’t for everyone, and its not nearly as useful in 5 mans as it is in raids or PvP just because of the nature of what it does and how you have to trigger it. If you don’t want to take this on a character you’re just questing on or doing a lot of LFG, then switch these two points out for Tome of Light which will reduce the cooldown on your Holy Word spells by 15%, allowing you to use HW:Chastise (in particular) more frequently.

Glyphs

Prime Glyphs

Now that we get some instant healing to Renew from our talent points, the instant heal from the Glyph of PW:Shield seems an even better fit. I still did the majority of my healing through this level range with nothing more than bubbles and Renew, and I love this glyph. Renew is still another great option, and it is the one that I chose for my second slot at level 50, but until then I think PW:Shield is the better option.

Major Glyphs

  • Glyph of Spirit Tap: When you kill a target with your SW:Death and yield experience or honor, you instantly receive 12% of your total mana over 12 seconds.
  • Glyph of Smite: Your Smite spell inflicts an additional 20% damage against targets afflicted by Holy Fire.
  • Glyph of Psychic Scream: Targets of your Psychic Scream spell now tremble in place instead of fleeing in fear, but the cooldown of Psychic Scream is increased by 3 sec.

You’ll have to make a decision at level 32 as to whether you want to switch immediately to Spirit Tap or hold off until level 50 when you get your second set of glyph slots. If mana is still your main problem, then make the switch to Spirit Tap. If you’re doing just fine with your mana, then keep Smite if you’re going to do a lot of questing. If you’re more into dungeon running then Spirit Tap is probably your best choice, but Psychic Scream is still a really good option if you find there’s a need for AoE fear to be used.

My personal preference is to switch to Spirit Tap at level 32, and then add Smite back in when you reach level 50.

Minor Glyphs

Minors being minors, they all pretty well suck. Levitate is the most important one to me, personally, because I hate dealing with reagents, and it provides the most literal benefit. Reducing the casting cost of buffs is all fine and good, but you almost never need to reapply them during combat (outside of PvP) which means if you’re worried about the mana cost then you can just sit down right after buffing everyone and drink back to full.

Chakra
At this level you can only activate half of the real usefulness of Chakra, simply because the other half requires another talent point which you won’t get until level 51. However, Chakra is still useful by itself and it is important to know what it does and how to use it effectively. Since the next guide will include that talent point we’re missing, I’ll go back over Chakra and its interaction with the other half of it next time.

There are three Chakra states that you can enter, and which one you enter is triggered by a different group of spells. Each state also provides it’s own benefit.

Chakra State: Serenity
Trigger Spells: Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal
Effect: Increases the critical effect chance of your direct healing spells by 10%, and causes your direct heals to refresh the duration of your Renew on the target.

Serenity is the version that I use most often when healing dungeons. Making our direct heals 10% more likely to crit means more chances to proc other effects such as Inspiration, not to mention the increased healing in general that comes with that crit chance. It also allows direct heals to refresh Renew which means I can essentially recast Renew on my tank by casting Heal on them, which is only half the mana cost.

Chakra State: Sanctuary
Trigger Spells: Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending
Effect: Increases the healing done by your area of effect spells and Renew by 15% and reduces the cooldown of your Circle of healing by 2 seconds.

I don’t use Sanctuary all that often, but really only because I don’t see a ton of AoE damage. It does make Renew 15% better which is great, but I find Serendipity to be more useful in general. In this level range our only AoE heal is Prayer of Healing, so the only real benefit we receive is the extra healing from Renew compared to Serenity buffing all of our direct heals.

Chakra State: Chastise
Trigger Spells: Smite, Mind Spike
Effect: Increases your total damage done by Shadow and Holy spells by 15%.

Chastise is great for questing. It finally provides us with a damage buff that we’ve been missing all this time. And it’s basically a 15% damage increase across the board for us since it buffs both Holy and Shadow. It’s odd that a talent so deep in the Holy tree would buff Shadow spells, but who am I to argue with extra damage, right?

Gearing Up Your Priest
For Holy you’re looking first and foremost at Intellect on your gear. Intellect provides Spell Power, Mana, and Spell Crit, all of which you’re interested in. Next up is going to have to be Spirit because Priests will do struggle with mana at low levels. Haste comes next as it makes your Renew tick faster and it also allows your heals to cast faster which is really useful when your best filler heal has a base cast time of three seconds.

Cloth is your only option for gear of course, and lucky for us all cloth gear is caster gear, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find. Weapons can be kind of hit and miss, though there are quite a few good staves that drop in dungeons. You can find some decent off-hand weapons from dungeons these days as well, but one-handed caster weapons are pretty rare at low levels.

Even though I have access to some of my Hand Me Down gear, a mace with +22 Intellect being one of them, I didn’t use them on the Priest because I wanted to be as pure as I could to what another player might be since Priests are well known for their mana issues right now.

Macros

#showtooltip
/startattack
/cast Smite
/run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

I use this type of macro for all of my attacks (Smite, Holy Fire, Mind Blast, SW:Pain, Devouring Plague) mostly so that I have an auto-target and auto-attack built into the spell cast.

#showtooltip
/cast [@focus] Power Word: Shield

This is my “heal with sammich” macro, it allows me to cast my bubble directly on my focus without having to bother with targeting and such. I set the tank as my focus as soon as the group is created and hit this button when the spell wears off.

I use a variation of this for Renew, Heal, Flash Heal, Greater Heal, Binding Heal…basically all of my healing spells, as well so that I can easily heal an instance with one hand while eating a sammich with the other and watching YouTube on the second monitor. LFG can be pretty boring these days when you have a tank with fully enchanted heirlooms who also knows how to play their class well, and I use these when I’m bored and don’t feel like clicking Healbot.

 

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Priest Leveling: 1-29 Holy

Today I give you the second of the Project High Heals leveling guides, focusing today on my Holy Priest, Psynister. At the time of my writing this he is currently sitting at level 60, while my Resto Shaman is taking it easy at level 44.

Up to this point Psynister’s focus has been to level mostly via dungeons. Each of the Project High Heals toons will be leveled fully in their healing spec(s), with each of the four healing classes having a specific type of leveling that they focus on the most, though they all participate in all of the different experience earning methods. I’ve done a really good job of keeping Psynister in dungeons, but he can burn through quest mobs with ease as well.

Playing a Holy Priest
The Holy Priest was one that I was both looking forward to and hesitant about at the same time. On the one hand, I recently leveled a Shadow Priest and am well aware of their mana issues at low levels but confident in my ability to overcome them, while on the other hand Holy is pretty well known as the “just for heals” spec of the Priest so I thought questing was going to suck. Boy, was I wrong.

I did find that low level PvP really sucks as Holy. Sure, I can bubble and I can heal, but my bubbles don’t go very far and while my heals aren’t too bad it’s rare to find a PvP match where I’m not focus fired after the first 3 minutes.

Dungeon healing though was a lot of fun. Bubbles are strong, Renew is a beast, and even at level 60 I get to DPS for some of the fights, healing with nothing more than an occasional bubble/renew or a free, instant Flash of Light when my talents proc. Priests have mana issues at low levels, so that was my main concern about dungeons and also part of why I chose the Priest for the dungeon focus. What I found was that during my 20’s the Undead Racial pretty well took care of any mana issues I had. In the 30’s I didn’t really struggle much at all. In the 40’s I only had mana issues while questing and even then only if I pulled multiple mobs with high cost DoT’s. From the 50’s on – mana issues? What are mana issues?

My biggest challenge in healing dungeons is AoE damage. Before you’re able to employ Chakra as an AoE heal your only option is either spamming bubbles, spamming renew, or getting people click on the Lightwell. I’ve had two dungeons where people actually clicked on it, but both of those went extremely well when they used it.

The hardest thing about healing with a Priest is figuring out which of those eighteen billion healing spells you’re supposed to use and which you aren’t, and when you should use them and when you shouldn’t. But in the 1-29 bracket those many options aren’t opened to you yet, so for now your job is easy.

Holy-Specific Tips
The main thing I want to mention about Holy is that it really does play just like the opposite of Shadow. When leveling as Shadow your DoT’s are amazing, but when leveling Holy your DoT’s are an amazing waste of your mana. Almost all of the Shadow-based spells are a complete waste of both time and mana as a Holy spec, with an exception made for Mind Blast (while leveling) and Shadow Word: Death (which you don’t get until your 30’s).

Healing a dungeon as Holy is simple. In this bracket, with all of two heirlooms to my name, I healed dungeons with Power Word: Shield and Renew, and that’s basically all I needed. I would cast Heal on occasion when I couldn’t bubble, and stupid DPS who liked to pull would require an occasional Flash Heal, but most of my tank healing was strictly bubbles and Renew. I didn’t cast the two at the same time, I used either one or the other.

Mana can become an issue though, especially if there are problems with threat. If you have to heal multiple people then someone’s likely going to die. PW:Shield and Renew are both fairly high on mana cost, so spamming them on the whole party can dry you out quick. I wiped twice in Stockades on my Priest because people were pulling multiple groups and I had no chance of healing them all. Not that I could have done any better at all on my Resto Shaman, but at that level you just don’t have the tools to handle damage on several targets at once while having the mana to back it all up.

Mana is the real key to your success at this level, and the key to that is not over healing. The primary example of that is PW:Shield and Renew. Outside of PvP there is no reason to have both of these spells up on the same target at the same time; not in this level bracket, at least. Renew heals for enough by itself to essentially work just like the bubble does. If you do need some extra healing on him, use your slow cast, low cost spells to top him off. If you know that your Renew isn’t going to be enough because extra mobs just got pulled, then go ahead and apply your bubble before Renew is done ticking so that the extra healing can build up in the background while the mobs are chewing away at the bubble.

Don’t feel like you have to keep your tank, or the rest of the party for that matter, at full health all the time. Pay attention to how much damage he takes and how fast to adjust your healing accordingly. If you have a tank who take almost no damage at all then don’t bother healing them until they’re near half health, and even then just toss a Renew and let it tick to full. If you have a tank that’s just getting demolished who seems like he’s going to die every two seconds then you need to be more active on the healing front.

If your party takes a little damage, don’t worry about it. Either top them off when someone goes afk, or when loot is being rolled on after a boss, or just let them stay where they are. You’re there to keep people alive, not to keep them at full health every step of the way.

The next thing in relation to mana is getting that mana back. I don’t hesitate to say that the Undead racial of Cannibalize was the single most helpful thing I could have done. When the tank goes to pull a new group and I’m at or below 60% of my mana I give him a bubble and then use my racial on one of the mobs we just killed. Every two minutes I get 40% of my health and mana back for munching on a dead humanoid/undead mob, and that is fantastic.

I also dealt with some of these mana potions by making my Resto Shaman an alchemist and making a good deal of mana potions, which also come in very handy. Since I had plenty of mats I made at least a stack of each type of mana potion while I was leveling her Alchemy, and then sent them out to the healers. On average I used 3-5 of each potion, total, for the level bracket they’re meant for. My Shaman never used one outside of PvP, but my Priest used them now and then in his 20’s and 30’s.

Important Spells & Abilities
Note that all numeric values are taken from the level 29 version of the spell for the purposes of this post.

Level 1-10

  • Smite (1): Smite an enemy for 33 to 37 Holy damage.
  • Flash Heal (3): Heals a friendly target for 316 to 366.
  • Shadow Word: Pain (4): A word of darkness that causes 1326 Shadow damage over 18 sec.
  • Power Word: Shield (5): Draws on the soul of the friendly target to shield them, absorbing damage. Lasts 15 sec. While the shield holds, spellcasting will not be interrupted by damage. Once shielded, the target cannot be shielded again for 15 sec.
  • Inner Fire (7): A burst of Holy energy fills the caster, increasing the armor value from items by 60% and spell power by 23.
  • Renew (8): Heals the target for 62 every 3 sec for 12 sec.
  • Mind Blast (9): Blasts the target for 65 to 67 Shadow damage.

Smite is your spammable attack, the one you’ll use most for your questing. Flash Heal is a powerful and fast, but expensive heal that is best used in emergency situations. Shadow Word: Pain is a pretty strong DoT spell, but as Holy it’s not very valuable and rarely worth its high mana cost.

Power Word: Shield is your bubble, and one of the main keys to your early dungeon healing success, also great for both questing and PvP, especially since it cancels pushback while casting. Inner Fire is a nice spell power buff which is pretty hard to come by at this level, which also has a nice boost to your armor providing extra survivability. This buff no longer has a duration, so once you put it up it will stay up until you die, cancel it, or change specs.

Renew is the other important heal that you have at this level, often healing the target for even more damage per tick than they’re taking. Its mana cost is a little bit on the high side, so make sure you’re not needlessly overwriting it or removing the need for its healing by using a bubble on the target at the same time. Last up is Mind Blast which is a Shadow spell, but this one is cheap on mana, has a fast cast time, and deals some pretty decent damage as well. I often use this to pull with.

By choosing Restoration as your specialization at level 10 you receive all of the following:

  • Holy Word: Chastise (10): Chastise the target for 29 to 31 Holy damage, and disorients them for 3 sec.
  • Spiritual Healing (10): Healing increased by 15%.
  • Meditation (10): Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while in combat.
  • Absolution (10): Enables your Dispel Magic spell to be cast on friendly targets to remove 2 harmful magical effects.
  • When you first get Holy Word: Chastise it’s a little uncertain whether it’s a great spell or a poor spell. The effect is cool, the damage is somewhat low, it’s instant cast which is great, but it also has a ridiculous 30 second cooldown. I generally end up using this one as a chance to interrupt spell casters with the disorient effect, or to finish off mobs that run when low on health (until we get Shadow Word: Death in the 30’s).

    Spiritual Healing is pretty straight forward, you become 15% better at keeping people alive. Meditation is similarly simple, giving you 50% better mana regeneration during combat, and it’s one of the reasons why Spirit is an important stat for us. Absolution is pretty cool, it makes Dispel magic remove 2 Magic debuffs from your target instead of 1.

    Level 11-20

    • Psychic Scream (11): The caster lets out a psychic scream, causing 5 enemies within 8 yards to flee for 8 sec. Damage caused may interrupt the effect.
    • Power Word: Fortitude (14): Power infuses all party and raid members, increasing their Stamina for 1 hour. If the target is in your party or raid, all party and raid members will be affected.
    • Resurrection (14): Brings a dead ally back to life with 35% health and mana. Cannot be cast when in combat.
    • Heal (16): Heal your target for 159 to 183.
    • Holy Fire (18): Consumes the enemy in Holy flames that cause 46 to 58 Holy damage and an additional 21 Holy damage over 7 sec.

    Psychic Scream is an ability you want to get familiar with using, yet you need to be really careful of using it when in groups unless you have the glyph for it. It’s an AoE fear that hits up to 5 targets, and I really love this spell. When you’re in dungeons though, generally people hate you for casting this. Using the glyph removes the running away part and instead makes them cower in place for its duration.

    Power Word: Fortitude is the Priest’s signature buff, providing the whole party/raid with an increase to their Stamina. Resurrection is your rez, pretty much the same as every other non-combat rez in the game. Heal is your cheap, cost effect heal that has a long cast time. This is your filler heal, used to keep people up or topped off when there’s no reason to bother with other heals. Apply this liberally to tanks in low level LFG.

    Holy Fire is last up on the list, it’s a great spell that deals both direct damage as well as damage over time. When using the right glyphs you also get an increase in damage to your Smite if the target has your Holy Fire DoT active on them.

    Level 21-29

    • Cure Disease (22): Removes 1 disease from the friendly target.
    • Fade (24): Fade out, temporarily reducing all your threat for 10 sec.
    • Dispel Magic (26): Dispels magic on the target, removing 2 harmful spell from yourself or 1 beneficial spell from an enemy.
    • Devouring Plague (28): Afflicts the target with a disease that causes 1240 Shadow damage over 24 sec. 15% of damage caused by the Devouring Plague heals the caster. This spell can only affect one target at a time.

    Cure Disease does just that, removes a disease from your target. There aren’t a ton of diseases early on, and most of those aren’t very important anyway, but it’s best for you to get used to it now so that when it does matter you know how to use it. Fade isn’t all that important to us unless you’re dealing with a tank with poor threat. I get the most use out of this, as Holy, but using it in PvP to make pets leave me alone.

    Dispel Magic is a nice, versatile dispel. It can be used on both friendly targets and enemies, either clearing harmful debuffs from your team or removing beneficial buffs from your enemies. Devouring Plague is last up on the list. It’s a strong DoT that also heals you for a portion of the damage that it deals. Unfortunately, it too has a high mana cost and is best used by Shadow Priests.

    Leveling a Holy Priest

    • Questing Single Mob: Mind Blast, Holy Fire, Smite spam
    • Questing Multi-Mob: [target 1] Shadow Word: Pain, Devouring Plague, [target 2] Mind Blast, Holy Fire, Smite spam

    Questing Single Mob
    For single mobs it’s a simple matter of just burning them down with Smite spam. I like to pull with Mind Blast, personally, mostly because I like to get extra damage out of Smite by using Holy Fire’s debuff. Normally I would suggest pulling with a spell like Smite because of its longer cast time, but I don’t feel it’s necessary and found that I prefer pulling with Mind Blast so that’s what I do.

    Questing Multi-Mob
    When I’m facing multiple mobs as Holy I do go ahead and use my DoT’s, but only on a single target. DoT the first target, burn the second one down, and then finish off the first with Smite spam. If you pull more than two, then still just DoT the first target and then leave him alone while you focus on the others so that your DoT’s can actually deal their damage and be worth the mana it costs to cast them.

    How to Heal: 29 Holy Priest
    When you’re actually filling your healing role rather than questing it’s probably a good idea for you to have a clue how to actually, you know, heal. The numbers in the next section are based on the level 29 version of the spell, unmodified by talents or gear.

    Healing Spells
    Flash Heal: 28% base mana, 1.5 second cast, heals for 316-366
    Power Word: Shield: 34% base mana, instant cast, absorbs damage
    Renew: 17% base mana, instant cast, heals 62 every 3 sec for 12 sec.
    Heal: 9% base mana, 3 second cast, heals for 159-183

    Resurrect: 60% base mana, 10 second cast, non-combat resurrection
    Cure Disease: 16% base mana, instant cast, removes 1 disease
    Dispel Magic: 16% base mana, instant cast, removes 2 harmful magic effects

    As you can see here, PW:Shield is your most expensive spell that you’ll cast during combat. It’s a great spell, fantastic for healing, but it’s expensive and it doesn’t actually heal anything by default (you can glyph it to do so). Next up is Flash Heal, which is also expensive but it’s your single largest heal in this level range. Again, you don’t want to cast it any more than you have to, but when you have to it’s there for you and it pack a decent punch.

    Renew is next up on the list, and even with no haste at all you can see that it heals for (62 x (12/3=4) = 248) 248 over 12 seconds. The drawback of course is that you have to wait the full 12 seconds before you get that healing. Finally we have Heal which is your cheapest and least effect per-cast heal. Don’t dismiss this one for the low healing value though, because that cheap mana cost makes it one of the best healing options available to you. If you don’t need a big heal right away then Heal is much better than Flash Heal for its low mana cost alone.

    Talent Spec: 29 Holy Priest

    • Improved Renew 2/2: Increases the amount healed by your Renew by 10%.
    • Divine Fury 3/3: Reduces the casting time of your Smite, Holy Fire, Heal and Greater Heal spells by 0.5 sec.
    • Surge of Light 2/2: You have a 6% chance when you Smite, Heal, Flash Heal, Binding Heal or Greater Heal to cause your next Flash Heal to be instant cast and cost no mana.
    • Desperate Prayer 1/1: Instantly heals the caster for 30% of their total health.
    • Empowered Healing 2/3: Increases the healing done by your Flash Heal, Heal, Binding Heal and Greater Heal by 10%.
    • Holy Concentration 1/2: Increases the amount of mana regeneration from Spirit while in combat by an additional 15%.

    I started off with Improved Renew mostly so that I could combat those low level mana problems. If Renew heals for more then that means you have fewer heals that you have to cast, so more mana you get to save. This is one of your best investments early on. Divine Fury is another great spell, reducing the cast time on two of your primary questing attacks as well as two of your heals (you don’t get Greater Heal in this level range, though). If you’re going to quest as Holy at all, you want this talent.

    Surge of Light is a really great spell, giving some of your spells (see above) a chance to proc a free, instant Flash of Light. I love this both for questing since it can proc from my Smite spam, as well as dungeon healing (especially when multiple people are taking damage), and it’s fantastic for PvP. I especially love it in PvP when it procs off of a Flash Heal and then procs another Flash Heal, giving me three of this bad boy in a row for the price of one.

    Desperate Prayer was a personal choice and one that a lot of Holy Priests don’t bother taking, especially while leveling. I took this first and foremost because I enjoy PvP while I’m leveling and a free, instant heal for 30% of my health is nothing to sneeze at in PvP. I also took it because there had been several times that I was healing a dungeon where a single heal on me would have prevented a wipe. If you don’t want to put a point here then I suggest you finish off Empowered Healing instead.

    Empowered Healing is a great boost to your healing efficiency, plain and simple. Holy Concentration I took for the mana regen alone. Mana is what it’s all about at this level, and more regeneration was more important to me than Lightwell or even getting some instant healing out of Renew.

    Glyphs

    Prime Glyphs

    My preference for your first glyph is Power Word: Shield because I think at an early level that it provides the most overall benefit and one of the few forms of instant healing you can get. I kept low level tanks alive by alternating casts of PW:Shield and Renew, and this was one of the more beneficial effects for doing that.

    Renew would be my second option for additional healing from it. I do like using Renew and it is really powerful, but I did’t feel that it needed to be any more powerful at that level. Not that more healing is ever a bad thing, but that it wasn’t necessary.

    Major Glyphs

    • Glyph of Smite: Your Smite spell inflicts an additional 20% damage against targets afflicted by Holy Fire.
    • Glyph of Psychic Scream: Targets of your Psychic Scream spell now tremble in place instead of fleeing in fear, but the cooldown of Psychic Scream is increased by 3 sec.

    You have two great choices for your first Major glyph. Smite is the big winner if you’re going to do a lot of questing. It’s one of the very few things you can do to increase your damage output as Holy. Psychic Scream though is also great, especially if you’re leaning more towards dungeons. I started off with Scream and eventually switched it over to Smite at which point I did a little questing with my wife’s mage and completely pissed her off when I used Scream and sent her target running behind her while she was trying to cast.

    For those of you who don’t know my wife, pissing her off means you better duck because there’s going to be a heavy object flying at your head in a matter of seconds. Don’t worry, the stapler just barely grazed me this time.

    Minor Glyphs

    Our options for minors is pretty much crap at this level. I prefer Fortitude since I’m a healer and have almost no problem with threat in the first place, though Fading isn’t bad if you’re more into PvP and want to avoid those hunter and warlock pets. Personally, I just skipped the minor glyph until 34 and used Levitate instead, then added Fortitude at level 50.

    Gearing Up Your Priest
    For Holy you’re looking first and foremost at Intellect on your gear. Intellect provides Spell Power, Mana, and Spell Crit, all of which you’re interested in. Next up is going to have to be Spirit because Priests will do struggle with mana at low levels. Haste comes next as it makes your Renew tick faster and it also allows your heals to cast faster which is really useful when your best filler heal has a base cast time of three seconds.

    Cloth is your only option for gear of course, and lucky for us all cloth gear is caster gear, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find. Weapons can be kind of hit and miss, though there are quite a few good staves that drop in dungeons. You can find some decent off-hand weapons from dungeons these days as well, but one-handed caster weapons are pretty rare at low levels.

    Even though I have access to some of my Hand Me Down gear, a mace with +22 Intellect being one of them, I didn’t use them on the Priest because I wanted to be as pure as I could to what another player might be since Priests are well known for their mana issues right now.

    Macros

    #showtooltip
    /startattack
    /cast Smite
    /run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

    I use this type of macro for all of my attacks (Smite, Holy Fire, Mind Blast, SW:Pain, Devouring Plague) mostly so that I have an auto-target and auto-attack built into the spell cast.

    #showtooltip
    /cast [@focus] Power Word: Shield

    This is my “heal with sammich” macro, it allows me to cast my bubble directly on my focus without having to bother with targeting and such. I set the tank as my focus as soon as the group is created and hit this button when the spell wears off. I use a variation of this for Renew, Heal, and Flash Heal as well so that I can easily heal an instance with one hand while eating a sammich with the other and watching YouTube on the second monitor.

     

    Shaman Leveling: 1-29 Restoration

    Today I give you the first of the Project High Heals leveling guides, focusing today on my Restoration Shaman, Bottledwatah. At the time of my writing this she is currently sitting in her low 40’s in level, with my Holy Priest at level 30 and likely to catch up with her fairly soon.

    My Shaman’s focus for this project is generalization, she’s meant to participate in all aspects of leveling pretty evenly. So far she’s done a fairly good job with that, though I have slowed down somewhat on the BG queues and questing is definitely taking longer to do in the Resto spec. I’ll get into more detail on that later on in the article.

    Playing a Restoration Shaman
    The Resto Shaman has been a really interesting experience so far. While I was in my teens and 20’s I was both a fantastic healer as well as an exceptional damage dealer while in my Resto spec. It was rare to see me come out of BG without being at the top of the charts in several areas, including killing blows and damage done.

    Healing dungeons with her is actually a lot of fun, and I like that the style of healing even comes off differently than all of the other healers. Earth Shield is a fantastic spell that’s similar to a Priest’s bubble (sort of) except that instead of preventing damage it heals the target after they receive damage. This is especially good because early on you only have access to one, long-cast healing spell so you really need those Earth Shield heals thrown in to keep your tank alive. With only a couple of heirlooms available (since I’m not on my main server), I’m not as fantastically OP as I would be otherwise, so I’m not bored when healing on my Shaman.

    A question I see a lot when I mention that I’m leveling multiple healers right now is “how does Class X do on mana?” As far as the Shaman is concerned, there’s no such thing as mana issues. In an average dungeon where morons aren’t pulling extra mobs or doing stupid crap, it’s rare that I see my mana drop below 90% unless I decide to help kill things, which I often do. Even then, the only time I have ever run out of mana on her is when I fought a level 56 Rare Spawn at level 40, and I was almost 16 minutes into the fight when I ran out only because I was casting Flame Shock every cooldown and dropping fire totems to try to kill it. I’m sure I could have finished him off in another half hour or so even being OOM, but instead I had my wife come kill it for me since I was only passing through the zone anyway.

    Resto-Specific Tips
    Resto Shamans are great at staying high on mana (so far, at least) and their heals are really powerful. I find that I can pretty well constantly cast my Healing Wave while keeping Earth Shield up on my tank and never have mana issues. And, unless the tank is under-geared or has over pulled, he’s not going to die either. It’s not that Shaman heals are over powered though, it’s that things just flow really well and it’s easy to stay on top of it when you pay attention.

    Playing a Resto Shaman isn’t boring though, because even though it’s easy to keep your tank alive, that does involve a lot of casting. I find that my Shaman is constantly casting but never running out of mana, while my Priest is only rarely casting but often goes OOM. Some of the talents I suggest further on in the article cause your heals to be more effective and/or cost less mana when combined with damaging spells like Shocks, and utilizing those talents help keep things more interesting without negatively impacting my performance.

    As far as tips are concerned, always keep your shields up both on yourself and on your tank. I personally like to use the Power Auras [Curse link] addon to keep track of shields and charges, but use whatever works best for you to be sure you aren’t robbing your tank of heals or yourself of mana.

    Also, don’t dismiss your melee potential simply because you’re a caster. I have a blast in PvP watching someone close into melee with me thinking that’s going to give them the advantage when all it really does is give me free heals from my Earth Shield and allow me to use Primal Strike to bash their faces and avoid getting spell locked. I still use Primal Strike for questing, PvP, and LFG as well.

    Important Spells & Abilities
    Note that all numeric values are taken from the level 29 version of the spell for the purposes of this post.

    Level 1-10

    • Lightning Bolt (1): Casts a bolt of lightning at the target for 39 to 43 Nature damage.
    • Primal Strike (3): An instant weapon strike that causes 10 additional damage.
    • Strength of Earth Totem (4): This totem increases the Strength and Agility of all party and raid members within 40 yards.
    • Earth Shock (5): Instantly shocks the target with concussive force, causing 49 to 51 Nature damage and reducing melee and ranged attack speed by 20% for 8 seconds.
    • Healing Wave (7): Heals a friendly target for 150 to 170.
    • Lightning Shield (8): The caster is surrounded by 3 balls of lightning. When a spell, melee or ranged attack hits the caster, the attacker will be struck for Nature damage. This expends one lightning ball. Only one ball will fire every few seconds. Lasts 10 minutes. Only one Elemental Shield can be active on the Shaman at any one time.
    • Flametongue Weapon (10): Imbue the Shaman’s Weapon with fire, increasing total spell damage by 408(?).

    Lightning Bolt is your bread and butter spam attack while you’re questing. Primal Strike is an instant melee attack that I really enjoy using as a caster. Even though Shamans have access to shields I like to use a staff instead because it has better melee damage while I’m questing while still having healing stats on it.

    Strength of Earth Totem ends up being my most common Earth Totem so far, mostly because the other Earth totems don’t do jack for my spell casting and I’ve had a ton of non-casters in my LFG groups. Earth Shock is one of your bread and butter attacks, it’s an instant burst of damage which also provides a nice attack speed reduction to the target for a bit of additional survivability either for you or for your tank.

    Healing Wave is your spammable heal, having a fairly long cast time but a reasonably low mana cost. I cast this one the most to keep my tanks topped off when Earth Shield charges aren’t enough to heal them on their own.

    At level eight you receive Lightning Shield which you’ll use right up until you get Water Shield and then you can remove this from your bars for good. Flametongue Weapon is your weapon imbue of choice for the time being and will be until level 54. Wowhead tells me that 408 Spell Power is the value at level 29, but that sounds way too high to me so I think the numbers are wrong.

    By choosing Restoration as your specialization at level 10 you receive all of the following:
    Earth Shield: Protects the target with an earthen shield, reducing casting or channeling time lost when damaged by 30% and causing attacks to heal the shielded target. This effect can only occur once every few seconds. 9 charges. Lasts 10 minutes. Earth Shield can only be placed on one target at a time and only one Elemental Shield can be active on a target at a time.
    Purification: Increases the effectiveness of your healing spells by 25%, and reduces the casting time of your Healing Wave and Greater Healing Wave spells.
    Meditation: Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while in combat.
    Mastery: Deep Healing: Increases the potency of your healing spells by 24%, based on the current health level of your target (lower health targets are healed for more). Each point of Mastery increases healing by up to an additional 3%.

    Earth Shield is the biggest benefit, which of course is why they give it to you. It’s a fantastic spell and I love having it at such a low level. Purification is the standard buff for choosing any spec, increasing the effectiveness of what you do with the spec; however, it also reduces the cast time of Healing Wave which is pretty big. Meditation is just one of the mana factors that contributes to the Resto Shaman having such great mana management.

    You won’t be able to benefit from Deep Healing any time soon, but it seems like a pretty decent buff to have once it does open up, making you more effective at healing targets that are low on health which is kind of the point.

    Level 11-20

    • Ancestral Spirit (12): Returns the spirit to the body, restoring a dead target to life with 45% of maximum health and mana. Cannot be cast when in combat.
    • Flametongue Totem (12): This totem increases the spell power of all party and raid members within 40 yards by 6%. Lasts 5 minutes.
    • Flame Shock (14): Instantly sears the target with fire, causing 28 Fire damage immediately and 48 Fire damage over 18 seconds.
    • Ghost Wolf (16): Turns the Shaman into a Ghost Wolf, increaes speed by 30%. As a Ghost Wolf, the Shaman is less hindered by effects that would reduce movement speed.
    • Wind Shear (16): Disrupts the target’s concentration with a burst of wind, interrupting spellcasting and preventing any spell in that school form being cast for 2 seconds. Also lowers your threat, making the enemy less likely to attack you.
    • Cleanse Spirit (18): Removes one Curse effect from a friendly target.
    • Earthbind Totem (18): This totem slows the movement speed of enemies within 10 yards of the totem. Lasts for 45 seconds.
    • Healing Surge (20): Heals a friendly target for 299 to 341.
    • Healing Stream Totem (20): Summons a totem with 5 health at the feet of the caster for 5 minutes that heals party members every 2 seconds.
    • Water Shield (20): The caster is surrounded by 3 globes of water, graning 15 mana per 5 seconds. When a spell, melee or ranged attack hits the caster, mana is restored to the caster. This expends one water globe. Only one globe will activate every few seconds. Lasts 10 minutes. Only one Elemental Shield can be active on the Shaman at any one time.

    Ancestral Spirit is how you resurrect those freaking punk DPS who feel like they can pull the entire instance with their face just because they’re a hunter/warlock with heirlooms on, when in fact they just fail at fulfilling their role. Not that I’m bitter or anything…

    Flametongue Totem is great for spell casters, making it my primary Fire Totem. Flame Shock isn’t huge for us as Resto, but I do like to use it when I’m solo questing and on bosses in LFG. During large pulls I’ll also try to spread Flame Shock around to make use of Fire Nova, but only if I have a tank with good survivability. Since Resto does really well on mana at this level I don’t mind adding DPS into my rotation and my damage while solo is pretty low in a healing spec so I make use of Flame Shock quite a bit.

    Ghost Wolf is a wonderful movement speed buff, allowing us to take on the form of a wolf to move faster. That second sentence in the description above means that you cannot go below 100% movement speed while in Ghost Wolf form. So you move at 130% normally with the buff, and you cannot be slowed below the 100%. Note that that applies to effects, not conditions, so you’ll still be slowed by things such as being in water. It can be used indoors which is fantastic, but it does have a cast time for Resto until you’re pushing 85.

    Wind Shear is primarily used for its spell interrupting feature, though it does also reduce your threat in a group setting. I primarily use this on crowd control spells being cast on my party (like the Sleep spell cast by the Druids in Wailing Caverns) or to counter healing spells. In PvP you can use it on Player Pets that I haven’t generated threat against to cause them to stop attacking me. An experienced PvP player will quickly put them back on you, but you’d be surprised how many players don’t notice. Cleanse Spirit can remove Curse debuffs cast on you or your party, which is actually pretty common.

    Earthbind Totem is somewhat situational. It’s a great totem for PvP, especially to slow Flag Carriers or pursuers of your Flag Carrier, or for allowing you to escape a deadly situation. In PvE it can slow mobs who run away when they’re low on health or it can be used to get some distance between you and your attackers to get a heal cast if you’re in danger of dying.

    Healing Stream Totem is a decent AoE healing effect, but to be quite honest I almost never bother casting it at this level since only my tank should be taking damage anyway and if not then HST probably isn’t even to heal the damage they’re taking. Healing Surge on the other hand is a great, fast healing spell. It does have a high mana cost, though, so you don’t want to cast it any more than you have to and with your other healing abilities you should be fine casting it only during emergencies.

    Water Shield is your primary shield for yourself, where Earth Shield is usually on your tank. For solo questing I switch back and forth between the two as needed.

    Level 21-29

    • Frost Shock (22): Instantly shocks the target with frost, causing 46 to 48 Frost damage and slowing movement speed by 50%. Lasts 8 seconds. Causes a high amount of threat.
    • Water Walking (24): Allows the friendly target to walk across water for 10 minutes. Any damage will cancel the effect.
    • Chain Lightning (28): Hurls a lightning bolt at the enemy, dealing 55 to 61 Nature damage and then jumping to additional nearby enemies. Each jump reduces the damage by 30%. Affects 3 total targets.
    • Fire Nova (28): Causes the shaman’s active Flametongue, Magma, or Fire Elemental Totem to emit a wave of flames, inflicting Fire damage to enemies within 10 yards of the totem.

    Frost Shock is another spell that I mention primarily for its usefulness in PvP. In PvE it’s really only useful if you need to stop runners or when mobs are coming after you and the tank hasn’t taunted.

    Water Walking is a cool utility spell that allows you to move on water. It’s great for certain PvP Battlegrounds and has some small usefulness in certain dungeons as well. For PvE can save you a little travel time prior to having a flying mount by letting you cut across water without being slowed down.

    Chain Lightning is our first AoE spell, and an interesting one in that it’s more multi-target than AoE. You’ll only really use this one in LFG or perhaps in PvP, unless you’re a AoE crazed leveler like myself in which case you’ll use it all the time. If you do use this one often then you’ll want to be sure to use Water Shield to keep your mana supply high.

    Fire Nova is our first literal AoE spell, dealing damage in a ring around targets with our Flame Shock debuff. You can have up to three Flame Shocks up at a time (due to it’s cooldown and duration) which will cause Fire Nova to burst in a ring around all three of them. In theory it’s a great AoE tool because a single spell is like three AoE’s in one, but in practice it kind of sucks since you have to have Flame Shock active for it to do anything and using Fire Nova damages the targets that have the debuff as well, so by killing targets you’re also killing your potential.

    Leveling a Resto Shaman

    • Questing Single Mob: Lightning Bolt, Lightning Bolt, Earth Shock, Primal Strike, Lightning Bolt, Earth Shock
    • Questing Multi-Mob: Chain Lightning, Flame Shock, Lightning Bolt, Primal Strike, Flame Shock, Chain Lightning

    Questing Single Mob
    As a healer, you’re obviously missing the burst damage of a DPS spec, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still unleash some serious hurt. Start off with either a dual Lightning Bolt or a Lightning Bolt followed by a Chain Lightning to take advantage of your cast times without suffering pushback from being attacked. From there I usually stick to shocks and Primal Strike since I hate dealing with pushback while I’m trying to cast. If your damage isn’t all that great and mobs take a while to kill use Flame Shock instead of the first Earth Shock and consider casting Searing Totem right before you pull.

    Questing Multi-Mob
    If you know that your’e going to face multiple mobs, or multiple groups of mobs, go ahead and cast your totems before you get started on the actual combat. Just remember not to drop aggressive totems (like Searing) until you’re within range for it to hit your target(s) and you’re ready for combat to start.

    Facing multiple mobs as Resto is both good and bad. On the one hand, Resto has crazy good survivability and you can easily take on multiple mobs. On the other hand, your damage is pretty weak so killing all of those mobs can take a long time. If you don’t mind a little sustained combat then go ahead and slay the masses, otherwise stick to single targets when you can.

    If you do want to face multiple mobs, then this is the rotation that I suggest. If there aren’t at least three mobs, lean more towards Lightning Bolt than Chain Lightning so that you don’t run yourself out of mana. Otherwise your primary objective is to get Flame Shock on three targets and then use Fire Nova to burn them all down.

    You definitely want to use Earth Shield in these situations, switching to Water Shield only when you know you can take enough hits to get enough mana back to make it worth your time. I usually keep Earth Shield up until I’m down to a single mob and then switch to Water Shield to get some mana back while I finish them off.

    How to Heal: 29 Restoration Shaman
    When you’re actually filling your healing role rather than questing it’s probably a good idea for you to have a clue how to actually, you know, heal. The numbers in the next section are based on the level 29 version of the spell, unmodified by talents or gear.

    Healing Spells
    Earth Shield: 19% base mana, instant cast, heals when attacked
    Healing Wave: 9% base mana, 2.5 sec. cast, heals 150-170
    Healing Surge: 27% base mana, 1.5 sec. cast, heals 299-341
    Healing Stream Totem: 3% base mana, instant cast, heals for ~28 every 2 seconds
    Cleanse Spirit: 14% base mana, instant cast, removes one Curse effect
    Ancestral Spirit: 72% base mana, 10 sec. cast, resurrect target with 35% of their health and mana

    These are the six “healing” spells that you have you have available at level 29. You have two passive/reactive heals (Earth Shield, Healing Stream Totem), two direct heals (Healing Wave, Healing Surge), one decurse (Cleanse Spirit), and a non-combat resurrection (Ancestral Spirit).

    The two you’ll use most often are Earth Shield and Healing Wave. Earth Shield will take care of most of your healing in this bracket and you should keep it up on your tank at all times. When solo questing you should switch back and forth between Earth Shield and Water Shield as needed. Healing Wave is cheap to cast and it heals for a decent amount given the power of Earth Shield.

    Healing Surge costs three times as much as Healing Wave and heals for only twice the amount, but it is a full second faster to cast. Use this one when you need a big heal in a short amount of time, typically when your tank is taking a ton of damage and Earth Shield isn’t enough to keep him up.

    I drop Healing Stream Totem when I’m fighting bosses, but I only really do it out of habit. There are only a few instances in low level play where there’s any amount of AoE damage in a dungeon where the totem would really be useful, and most of those the AoE damage is either so high that the totem doesn’t really help or so low that you don’t really need it in the first place. But, it is really cheap and the heals from it do add up over time so it’s not a bad spell it’s just not great either.

    For the vast majority of dungeons I heal the whole thing with Earth Shield and Healing Wave. Once I get a feel for how much damage my tank is going to actually take I decide from there whether I’m going to need to spam Healing Waves, stay on my toes for emergency Healing Surge casts, or if I’m going to slip into DPS mode with nothing but Earth Shield and an occasional Healing Wave.

    Make use of your talents. For example, we get mana returned via Water Shield when we crit with Healing Wave, so don’t be afraid to cast it for lack of mana. Also, make frequent use of your Shocks, particularly Earth Shock, when healing dungeons. Firstly because Earth Shock reduces the attack speed of the target you hit with it (thus protecting your tank), and secondly because casting Shocks reduces the mana cost and increases the effectiveness of the next healing spell we cast after the Shock. It’s a great way to get a cheaper Healing Surge off if you need a big heal but not necessarily right away.

    Talent Spec: 29 Restoration Shaman

    • Spark of Life 3/3: Increases your healing done by 6% and your healing received by 15%.
    • Tidal Focus 2/3: Reduces the mana cost of your healing spells by 4%.
    • Improved Water Shield 2/2: You have a 100% chance to instantly gain mana as if you consumed a Water Shield Orb when you gain a critical effect from your Healing Wave, Greater healing Wave, or Riptide spells, a 60% chance when you gain a critical effect from your Healing Surge spell, and a 30% chance when you gain a critical effect from your Chain Heal spell.
    • Focused Insight 3/3: After casting any Shock spell, your next heal’s mana cost is reduced by 75% of the cost of the Shock spell, and its healing effectiveness is increased by 30%.
    • Nature’s Swiftness 1/1: When activated, your next Nature spell with a base cast time less than 10 seconds becomes an instant cast spell.

    Spark of Life is pretty simple, it makes your heals 6% stronger. It also has that spiffy side effect of increasing the healing you yourself receive by 15% which is one of the reasons why you can survive things as Resto that others cannot. Tidal Focus gets only two of its three points right now simply because we’re moving down the tree. It reduces the mana cost of your heals which is great even if not entirely necessary at this level range.

    Improved Water Shield is fantastic for LFG, allowing you to regain mana when you crit with your heals where normally you would need to get hit for Water Shield to take effect. As you can see from the percentage chance of getting that mana return on your crits, it really pays off to stick to your longer cast time spells for a higher chance of mana return and why I can spam Healing Wave for days.

    Focused Insight is a really interesting talent, causing your Shocks to reduce the mana cost of your heals while also making them more powerful. I typically use Earth Shock to trigger these since ES applies an attack speed debuff which is good for my tanks, and then follow it up with either a Healing Wave because the tank doesn’t need much healing, or with a Healing Surge since the mana cost is significantly reduced.

    Nature’s Swiftness is an interesting spell. The traditional use for it is to make one of your heals instant cast for when things turn ugly. However, in the leveling game where emergencies are pretty rare I actually end up using this most often to cast DPS spells, such as Chain Lightning, instantly instead.The only time I’ve used it in a dungeon so far was in Gnomer where an ignorant Hunter/Warlock/Mage (I forget which it was that time) didn’t dismiss their pet before jumping and brought half the instance down on us.

    Glyphs

    Prime Glyphs

    Earth Shield is your top choice for sure. The healing from Earth Shield is already fantastic and this just makes it even more so. If you can’t make this, buy it. If you can’t buy it, steal it. If you can’t steal it, get Water Shield instead. Water Shield isn’t bad, but mana regen hasn’t been an issue for me at all so far. Definitely go Earth Shield if at all possible.

    Major Glyphs

    I really like Healing Wave because it’s really useful in PvP and it’s also a decent option for LFG which are my two favorite things to do. It’s basically worthless for solo play though. Ghost Wolf is another really good glyph even though it has nothing to do with healing. The extra run speed is simply useful for the leveling process and when gathering, so it’s a good back up. Healing Stream Totem provides a resistance buff when you use the totem. Those resistances aren’t by any means necessary when you’re leveling, but some benefit is better than none so you might decide to use this one.

    Minor Glyphs

    I’m a huge fan of getting rid of reagents, so Water Walking is the definite first choice here. Arctic Wolf is a simple vanity glyph that just changes the way you look in Ghost Wolf form. The only other Minor Glyph available at this level range is Thunderstorm which is a spell that only Elemental Shamans can use, so it’s completely worthless to you.

    Gearing Up Your Shaman
    For Resto you’re looking first and foremost at Intellect on your gear. Intellect provides Spell Power, Mana, and Spell Crit, all of which you’re interested in. I would say Haste is probably your second best, but it’s pretty hard to come by at lower levels. Even though I don’t have problems with mana, I still rank Spirit as the third stat. Just because I don’t have mana problems this level doesn’t mean the same will be true next level. From there, Crit isn’t a bad stat for us, it makes our heals bigger/better and it gives us more mana back from our talents in Improved Water Shield.

    Macros

    #showtooltip
    /cast [harm, nodead] Earth Shock; [harm, nodead] [@targettarget] Earth Shock
    /run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

    This macro lets me cast Earth Shock on my target, unless my target happens to be friendly (like the tank) in which case it casts it on their target instead. When I don’t have a tank that has a lot of survivability on their own I like to keep the tank as my target just so I can pay extra special attention to their health, and this macro lets me use Earth Shock on the tank’s target without having to change my actual target. I use a variation of this spell for all of my Shocks.

    #showtooltip Purge
    /cast [harm, nodead] Purge; [harm, nodead] [@targettarget] Purge
    /run UIErrorsFrame:Clear()

    This macro works just like the Shock macros up above, except that it’s all about destroying people’s buffs. This is mostly a PvP macro as few low level mobs have any buffs for you to purge.

    #showtooltip
    /cast [@focus] Earth Shield

    This is my “heal with sammich” macro, it allows me to cast Earth Shield directly on my focus without having to bother with targeting and such. I set the tank as my focus as soon as the group is created and hit this button when the spell wears off instead of tying up a slot in my healing addon. I use a variation of this for both Healing Wave and Healing Surge as well so that I can easily heal an instance with one hand while eating a sammich with the other and watching YouTube on the second monitor.

    #showtooltip Wind Shear
    /stopcasting
    /clearfocus [target=focus,dead]
    /cast [target=focus,harm,exists] Wind Shear
    /cast Wind Shear

    This macro is used when I’m facing a caster mob or a caster player in PvP. Instead of focusing the tank or myself I’ll set my focus instead to the caster so that I can use Wind Shear to interrupt their important spells. If I’m in a situation where focusing to interrupt is important then I’m going to heal with my addons rather than auto-targeting macros, so having my heal target focused isn’t important.

    Power Auras
    And just in case anyone is interested, here are the Power Auras that I use for my Shaman. Some of them I have set up even though I don’t have the buffs associated with them just yet (like Bloodlust), but they’re set to not do anything until then anyway.

    The most important ones here, to me, are the ones that monitor Earth Shield and Water Shield. The Water Shield aura simply monitors whether or not I have the buff active, so that I know when I need to recast it. There are four Earth Shield auras here, one that tells me if I have Earth Shield up on anyone at all in my party, and the other three are used to track how many charges I have left (1, 2, or 3+).

    Other auras include monitoring my health/mana to let me know when I’m low for those occasions where I’m taking a lot of burst in PvP or when I’m just not paying attention to the fact that something’s eating my face in a dungeon.

    Most of these aren’t mine originally, they’ve come from other blogs or from my buddy Krizhek.

    Set=Resto@
    Aura[1]=Version:4.20; b:0; anim1:2; g:0.0196; icon:Ability_Shaman_Heroism; buffname:Heroism/Bloodlust/Time Warp; r:0.9176; unitn:Only for raid/group.; texture:33; alpha:1; stacksOperator:=; size:1.5; y:0; anim2:4; finish:3; timer.h:1.5; timer.Texture:Digital; timer.enabled:true; timer.y:100; timer.Transparent:true@
    Aura[2]=Version:4.20; b:0.6275; g:0; icon:Spell_Holy_SealOfMight; buffname:Stun; x:-100; bufftype:3; texture:38; alpha:1; size:0.25; anim2:4; timer.Texture:Digital; timer.enabled:true; timer.Relative:RIGHT@
    Aura[3]=Version:4.20; b:0.0549; g:0; icon:Spell_Holy_Silence; buffname:Silence; x:-100; bufftype:3; texture:39; alpha:1; size:0.25; y:-10; anim2:4; timer.Texture:Digital; timer.enabled:true; timer.Relative:RIGHT@
    Aura[4]=Version:4.20; b:0.8549; anim1:5; g:0.1922; icon:inv_alchemy_elixir_02; r:0.1098; unitn:Only for raid/group.; bufftype:9; texture:3; alpha:1; speed:0.5; stacksOperator:=; threshold:30; combat:true; size:1.5; torsion:1.25@
    Aura[5]=Version:4.20; b:0.0078; anim1:5; g:0.0235; icon:inv_alchemy_elixir_05; r:0.7294; begin:1; unitn:Only for raid/group.; bufftype:8; texture:24; alpha:1; stacksOperator:=; threshold:40; size:1.54; torsion:1.25; anim2:1; finish:2@
    Aura[6]=Version:4.20; b:0.251; g:0.4549; icon:Spell_Nature_SkinofEarth; buffname:Earth Shield; x:127; texture:21; alpha:1; mine:true; inVehicle:0; stacksOperator:>; groupOrSelf:true; size:0.29; y:22; ismounted:0; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.Relative:CENTER; stacks.UseOwnColor:true; stacks.Texture:AccidentalPresidency@@
    Aura[7]=Version:4.20; icon:Spell_Shaman_TidalWaves; buffname:Tidal Waves; x:-176; texture:26; alpha:1; mine:true; size:0.43; y:3; texmode:2; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.LegacySizing:false; stacks.y:-65; stacks.x:-180@
    Aura[8]=Version:4.20; b:0; anim1:7; icon:Spell_Frost_SummonWaterElemental; buffname:Mana Tide Totem; r:0.9765; x:-179; bufftype:15; texture:80; size:0.5; randomcolor:true; y:-144; anim2:1@
    Aura[9]=Version:4.20; g:0; icon:Ability_Shaman_WaterShield; buffname:water shield; r:0.0078; x:85; texture:163; symetrie:1; size:0.94; torsion:0.79; y:-11; texmode:2; inverse:true@
    Aura[10]=Version:4.20; b:0.251; g:0.4549; icon:Spell_Nature_SkinofEarth; buffname:Earth Shield; x:162; stacks:3; texture:22; alpha:1; mine:true; inVehicle:0; groupOrSelf:true; size:0.29; y:57; ismounted:0; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.Relative:CENTER; stacks.UseOwnColor:true; stacks.Texture:AccidentalPresidency@@
    Aura[11]=Version:4.20; b:0.251; g:0.4549; icon:Spell_Nature_SkinofEarth; buffname:Earth Shield; x:173; stacks:2; texture:22; alpha:1; mine:true; inVehicle:0; groupOrSelf:true; size:0.29; y:18; ismounted:0; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.Relative:CENTER; stacks.UseOwnColor:true; stacks.Texture:AccidentalPresidency@@
    Aura[12]=Version:4.20; b:0.251; g:0.4549; icon:Spell_Nature_SkinofEarth; buffname:Earth Shield; x:159; stacks:1; texture:22; alpha:1; mine:true; inVehicle:0; groupOrSelf:true; size:0.29; y:-19; ismounted:0; stacks.enabled:true; stacks.Relative:CENTER; stacks.UseOwnColor:true; stacks.Texture:AccidentalPresidency@@

     

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