#Alt Appreciation – Priest Week

This week is dedicated to one of my favourite classes, yep, it’s finally #Priest Week.

When I first started playing WoW, we spent a lot of time PvPing in the Barrens and in Hillsbrad and despite loving my Warlock, there were two Horde Shadow Priests who inspired me a lot (probably because beating them was hard). When we came to reroll on a PvP server a few months down the line because of the new battleground queues made PvPing impossible on our server, I decided that instead of making a new Warlock, I’d go for a Shadow Priest. We were leveling as a threesome and as two hybrids (Priest and Druid) and a pure dps class, we could run dungeons at the appropriate level with no problems at all without needing to find another 2 players. It varied on who tanked and who healed, for example on Princess Theradras in Maraudon my Shadow Priest tanked whilst Mr Harpy’s feral Druid healed me but it worked great. Then we hit level 54 and joined a guild who were planning on running Molten Core real soon. Next thing I knew, I was Holy/Disc to raid and haven’t really looked back.

Throughout the original game I played a Priest, only switching to a Paladin a few months into the Burning Crusade. It didn’t take me long to realize that for me at least, this was a mistake, one which I wanted to rectify as swiftly as possible and in fact started taking my Priest to more and more alt fun runs. By the time the Sunwell came out, I was tempted to go back to playing one as my main but all our Shamans quit at once siting school, drama or wanting to re-roll themselves and whilst the final choice was mine, I went for Heroism for over Circle of Healing.

When Wrath was released, I went Priest from the start and the same with Cataclysm and MoP. I might currently be flirting with a Monk but I suspect that eventually the call of the Priest will be too strong for me to ignore.

Sprout

WoWScrnShot_091511_233530
Because everyone needs at least one Gnome Priest in their lives!

Erinys as she was originally

benediction

Erinys as she is today

benediction

At some point I would like to return to her to original state because she’ll always a Priestess of Elune to me but for the moment she’s sneaking around pretending to be a Blood Elf.

General Dornröschen

truefaith

Named for one of my favorite fairy tales, Sleeping Beauty which just seemed appropriate for a Forsaken Priest. I farmed rank 12 on her during the original game and she wears her title with pride. There was no botting, afking in corners or using hard core premades to get there, just lots of pvp some with friends but the vast majority just with Mr Harpy’s warrior.

There are few more Priestly skeletons hiding away on my account but these are my three main trouble causers.

Thoughts on being 90

Whilst levelling is a journey full of wonder and amazement, arrival at 90 is like landing at the airport to discover they’ve lost your baggage, customs want to strip search you but you’ve won the lottery to compensate. Sure there are a lot of positives but some definite negatives thrown into the mix as well.

1. Dailies, dailies, dailies as far as the eye can see. The choice is overwhelming as is the feeling that you should ignore the “fun” ones (Tillers/Anglers/Cloud Serpents) whilst concentrating on the rest in the run up to raids and the arena season starting. Given that I don’t go back to work until Thursday, we have been spamming the lot but it definitely feels like overload. On the plus side (a phrase I never thought I’d ever use in this context) most of the daily hubs involve going to one specific area and slaughtering & collecting. On top of that, compared to the Molten Front, killing vermling, playing catch with baby dragons and beating up sharks with your bare hands is a refreshing change.

2. Heroics aren’t really heroic in any shape or form. When I queued up for the first time I was really nervous remembering back to the start of Cataclysm when on some trash packs mana was an issue. I didn’t need to worry, in fact even after boss fights my interweaving of power word:solace into the mix meant I didn’t need to drink then either. I know the challenge modes are there for just that purpose but I would have liked the Heroics to be slightly tougher. It just feels a bit wrong where the Stormstout brewery for example felt harder on normal at 86 than it did at 90 on heroic (just wearing blue 450 gear in every slot apart from my 463 legs and my epic trinket from Coren).

3. PvP is awesome. My favourite all time battleground now has to be the Temple of Kotmogu. It’s fast paced, fun and a bit like arenaing but with objectives other than making sure you’re the last team standing. I definitely don’t feel squishy as Holy unless the whole opposing team piles on top of me (or I’ve been hogging a power ball too long) which is a good start to an expansion too. I plan on doing a proper post covering my choice of glyphs + talents as Holy for each of the maps once I’ve finished testing a few things.

4. Scenarios! I love all of the ones I’ve played so far (apart from Theramore). They’re quick, varied and because it’s not just standing still and healing like a proper dungeon, great fun (ignoring the lore side of it, Theramore is just a bit too much like running a dungeon).

The loot bags are annoying though, I know RNG is RNG but so far Mr Harpy has had an item from pretty much every second bag and I’ve had zero which makes gearing up a little more irritating.

5. Priesting. Why oh why can’t chakras last after death and on zoning. I know it’s not a massive issue for most things but it’s still a quality of life issue. Other than that, I’m pretty happy with Holy. Mana is 10 times better than it was at the start of Cataclysm in both pve and pvp. In fact the only other thing which annoys me is the lack of useful minor glyphs for my chosen spec. We have a choice of ten, four are shadow specific, one is disc specific, one is holy specific but requires your death and the others are just flavour.

6. Pet battles. Fear my Hopling because it will lick you to death! This turned out to be more addictive and less annoying than on the beta. I’m still working my way through pre Outlands pets but I hit 250 unique pets a while back and am route to 400 albeit slowly. I have to admit I went and tamed an Infested Bear Cub even though I said I never would. (By the way, they only seem to spawn after midnight if you’re looking, at least that’s the only time I’ve ever found any sign of them). Also whoever designed Jaguero Isle to have a separate weather system to that of southern STV can take a spinning crane kick to the face.

7. MoP transmogrification. Yes please! The cloth pvp set consisting of a pants suit had me panicking slightly but the weapons and off-hands are stunning.

8. Pandas. I’m still not 100 percent convinced, but I’ve made one even though she hasn’t made it out of the start zone yet. She’s a Priest (surprise surprise) called Snowflower after a book I fell in love with a little while ago when I found a beat up copy in a charity shop. I’m slightly saddened by the fact that my favourite beta hairstyle isn’t available at the character creation stage but am hoping it will be an option once she escapes the Isle.

9. The Storyline in general. I’m really impressed with the stories this time around. Blizzard have added some really lovely touches and some tragic moments. I was particularly taken with the fact that my evil double giggles.

It’s a great mix of tragic, comedic and thought provoking.

I think I started out looking for things to criticise, wanting to believe that WoW had nothing left to offer me, that I reached my final destination as far as the game was concerned but it seems that somehow despite my cynicism, Pandaria’s beauty and sense of wonder has managed to pull me back.

BETA: Glyph of the Heavens

The current beta build (15657) brought Priests our first cosmetic minor glyph.

Glyph of  the Heavens – Your Levitate targets will appear to be riding on a cloud for the duration of the spell.

Well would you have your eyes open if you were standing on a cloud?

The cloud is dynamic which is a nice touch, fluidly shifting in size.

 I can’t help wondering if it’s a bit big for Gnomes though. At it’s largest (as shown in the top picture) it’s about the same size as my Priest. Will I be using it when Mists goes live? Probably not, I find the movement a bit distracting and since I tend to use levitate mostly for leaping from the Lumber Mill to the Blacksmith, I’m not sure I’d want my arrival to be heralded by a large fluffy storm cloud.

BETA: Spectral Guise

I want to like this ability, I really do but I’m struggling to find anything positive at all to say about it. Regardless of whether you consider it in the light of PvP or PvE it has several obvious flaws.

White hits count towards the three hits. Thus fast hitting classes like rogues break you out far too fast.

You can’t cast anything whilst invisible nor can you interact with anything, including your lightwell.

You might as well announce your disappearing act with a fanfare of trumpets, some fireworks and a troop of cheerleaders. Subtle it isn’t. Not only is there an audible “whoosh”, you also fade to black before vanishing then there is a slight delay in which the enemy de-targets you before the “clone” appears. Which brings me to my next point.

This is my Gnome in all her awesome lv 87 glory:

This is my Spectral Guise:

Feel free to play spot the differences. I would imagine that by the time we’re one month into the expansion, everyone who isn’t a bot will recognise exactly what you’re doing and how to counter it. Also regardless of the health you’re at when you cast Spectral Guise, the clone spawns with a 100 percent which is another give away.

At the moment, any damage you (the real you, not the pale imitation) takes breaks the illusion. So you need to be careful about when you use it. Any dots on you before hand and it’s a no no even if said dots are absorbed by your shield. If you get caught by any AoE effects whilst trying to sneak off, same deal.

As Spectral Guise does break on damage to you and doesn’t clear snares, my biggest headache whilst duelling was the preparation I needed to get the most out of it.

cc -> dispel -> racial (if the snares weren’t magic) -> Spectral Guise

As the most I gained was 30 yards and since everyone else has at least one way of getting back to you, it barely bought me any time at all. I would have been arguably better just using fear and then spam healing myself.

In mass PvP, I can imagine myself using it pro-actively, for example sneaking into an enemy group using it and then fearing to break them up. Other than that, the best use I can think of is using it to cancel spells enemy casters/bosses are using on you.

So what about PvE, if I’m in a dungeon with a bad tank, I already have fade (which I can talent to remove snares) as well as either void tendrils or glyphable fear.

One other possible use (besides using it to cancel one spell cast on you every 30 seconds), would be on encounters like the new Huntsman in the Scarlet Monastery. The kind of fights where you get an arrow over your head and a pack of animals which can’t be taunted set on you for a set duration. If the arrow copies to your “clone” that is. I still need to test this as when I tried the Scarlet Monastery earlier, the boss insisted on targeting my party member rather than me. Of course if Mists brings us another Faction Champions type encounter, then yes, this spell will have a niche but until then, it’s rather lacklustre.

As an lv 87 Priest who has quested through both new zones as well as run the new dungeon as Holy, I can’t think of a single occasion where I “needed” Spectral Guise or even one where it would have been my go to solution. Given that it’s our only new non-talented ability this expansion, I feel that’s rather sad.

I would like to see a couple of quick fixes implemented to make it more desirable.

  1. Make it require only yellow hits to break or make it last for a percentage of your health pool.
  2.  Have it work a bit like vanish in that any damage the real you incurs whilst it’s active doesn’t break the effect. That way AoE and dots wouldn’t be so much of an issue. Either that or fix it to work with absorbs so that any absorbed damage doesn’t make you reappear.
  3. I’d also like it to copy my character, exact same health/mana and health percentage please.
Edit: On top of all this, Darkener left a great comment about his/her idea for a Spectral Guise glyph.
Glyph of Spectral Guise:Your Spectral Guise spell can be cast while stunned, immobilized, polymorphed, feared, charmed, disoriented, Sapped or mind controlled (under the effect of any CC).”

I have to say I love this idea. Of course it would rely on Blizzard fixing Spectral Guise so that the “sneaky” you doesn’t take damage whilst invisible but it would make a big difference in PvP. Since most of the glyphs these days are trade offs, perhaps a small increase to the cooldown would be required but I could live with that if I got a decent “Save me!” spell out of it.

Finally I have one last issue with it. As it’s not true stealth, mini-pets stick by your side and give the game away. In an expansion based around mini-pet battles, this is bad. I want to have my new companions out in PvP.

BETA: Thoughts on PvPing as a Healing Priest in MoP.

Disclaimers and stuff: First Beta build and everything is likely to change between now and live. Blizzard have admitted that the Priest Class still is a work in progress and things are missing/being switched around.

Crowd Control

Fear is back as baseline and Holy still has access to Chastise (the disorient).

Our other cc options can be found on Tier 1 of the new talent trees and they are:

  • Dominate Mind. 30 second cooldown. (appears to replace our current Mind Control) and is usable on all but mechanical targets.
  • Pysfiend. 45 second cooldown. Summons a Pysfiend that stands in place. The Pysfiend casts a Psychic Scream on a nearby enemy within 30 yards every 1.5 seconds, preferring targets which attack the Priest. Psychic Scream causes enemies to flee for 30 seconds, damage caused may interrupt the effect. (Given that Fear is back as a baseline, this may change. Due to diminishing returns, it’s unlikely to be my preferred choice in PvP).
  • Void Tendrils. 30 second cooldown. Summons shadowy tendrils out of the ground, rooting all targets within 8 yards for 20 seconds. Killing the tendril will cancel the effect. (Wonder if the Freya root macro could be re-used  for tendril killing).

Damage Prevention

First of all, it looks like that staple of Disc PvP, Focused Will is gone for good. Disc does however hang on to both Pain Suppression and Power Word: Barrier.

Other options available to us will include:

Glyph of Inner Sanctum: Spell damage taken is reduced by 6% while within Inner Fire, and the movement speed bonus of your Inner Will is increased by 6%.

This is basically our current talent in the Disc tree swapped to a glyph.

Talent: Phantasm (tier 2) – Any time you Fade you remove all movement impairing effects from yourself and your movement speed will be unimpaired for 3 seconds. In addition to this, you are no longer targettable by ranged attacks for its duration.

This combines a reworking of the current PvP set bonus with an old shadow talent of the same name with some new goodies.

If the “duration” means Fade and it keeps the same cooldown/duration it currently has, that could be 10 seconds out of every 30 that ranged spells just can’t hit you. Ever the optimist, but I’m not sure I see this going live as is.

At the moment, the other choices on tier 2 are purely movement speed related and since a boost to movement speed is no use unless you first clear snares, I’m erring towards this as my PvP pick.

Spectral Guise looks as if it’s making a come back as our lv 87 ability.

Instant cast, 30 second cooldown. Your shadow blurs into the darkness, leaving behind your true form. As a shadow you are invisible but remain in combat. Lasts six seconds or until your true form is hit by 3 direct attacks.

I’m currently  undecided on this one. If those “3 direct” hits include white damage, I’d say this is a fairly useless party trick. If not then it has possibilities. I’d like it to work like this,

/cast Spectral Guise. Then working on the same sort of principle as the Highborne Soul Mirror,  my shadowy self splits off  from my “real” body. Whoever is currently using me as a punching bag, keeps hitting the “fake” me whilst the real me gets to wander off, re-appearing a few yards away.

Dispels.

Instead of having an offensive and defensive dispel and a remove disease, we now have one defensive dispel which removes both magic and disease effects from a target and an offensive dispel. (This was my preferred solution when I discussed dispels a few weeks back although I’m still not convinced that adding a cooldown to dispels makes their use  any more intelligent than when we could spam them willy-nilly.).

Purify (new spell) – 8 second cooldown, removes all magic effects and diseases  from one friendly target. Is only available to Holy and Disc.

Glyph of Purify: heals your target X% upon successful removal of debuffs.

Dispel Magic – now has an 8 second cooldown and removes one buff from an enemy.

Glyph of Dispel Magic: Your Dispel Magic spell also damages your target for 0 Holy damage when you successfully dispel a magical effect.

Glyph of Leap of Faith: Your Leap of Faith spell now also clears all movement impairing effects from your target.

Mass Dispel is still with us and since it appears to be an option for Symbiosis, it seems as if it’s going to stay that way.

Offensive Magic.

According to the spell lists, Holy and Disc are losing access to most of the Shadow magic abilities (mindblast and mindspike). I have to admit, I’m  not particularly happy about this as I’ve always preferred using my shadow school when fighting melee, that way if I do get kicked, I’m not locked out of my heals.

We still have Shadow word: Death to annoy Mages though.

Glyph of Holy Fire: Your Holy Fire spell is now instant. Having another instant is always good in PvP and this might combine nicely with Atonement.

Atonement is also meant to be making an return as a glyph but hasn’t put in an appearance yet.

Cooldowns.

Disc has Pain Suppression, Power Word: Barrier and Hymn of Hope (even if we don’t know how that’s going to work just yet, however given that according to the data-miners, Symbiosis may give Disc Priests Tranquillity, I’d put money on the fact that it’s not going to be a heal).

Holy has Divine Hymn (on a 3 minute cooldown), Lightwell (which now has 15 charges as baseline) and Guardian Spirit (which hasn’t changed).

Talents offer us a few more possibilities.

Desperate Prayer is still available as a talent but it’s currently a choice between that, Voidshift and the new version of Angelic Bulwark.

Voidshift has now shifted itself to tier 4 of the talent tree. “You swap health percentage with the current friendly target. After this effect ends, whoever has the lowest health is automatically healed for 25 percent of their total health”. This has a 3 minute cooldown.

Tier 6 of the talent tree offers Vow of Unity. “Can not be cast on Tank specialized players”. 15 second duration, 2 minute cooldown, all healing on both targets is shared, and a portion will travel in both directions as well. The small print means this is rather lacklustre in PvE. I’d like to play around with it and binding heal as Holy. However since quite a few battlegrounds revolve around flags and flag carriers are often tank specced, I’m not as excited as I was before they added the caveat.

Other Useful Things.

Inner Focus is still Disc only and Strength of Soul (that crucial PvP talent) now appears to be a glyph.

It seems like Reflective Shield is also becoming a glyph. This makes me happy because I’ve beaten lots of people in 1 v 1s that I would otherwise have lost without it.

Other Priestly Beta Links: (will add to this as I find them)


I’m sure there is loads of things I’m missing but on the whole, so far I’m excited about PvP in Mists.

Transmogrification Tuesday – Green grow the rushes oh!

This is my Undead Priest, Dornröschen. One of her most prized possessions is her Arathi basin tabard so I thought I’d base her outfit around it. The shoulders are Priest only and the helm is Horde only unless you are a Warlock so it’s a fairly specific ensemble but then since the Alliance don’t get a green tabard I suppose it doesn’t matter. I know the shades of green aren’t identical but I prefer the detail on this robe as opposed to the one which matches the shoulders. The fanged face on the tabard is almost mirrored by one on the skirt.

For the hands, wrists and feet any dark coloured plain gloves and boots will do. I went with the Staff of Hale Magefire because it’s the staff that all my Priests started out with and as such has lots of memories. The baleful flames on it go with the yellowy green hints on the shoulders, tabard and robe too.

Updated Holy and Disc spells by Spec: MoP

Class abilities are shared by all three specs. The other two columns are spec dependent.

Information comes from here.

This is the updated version which includes most of the missing abilities from the previous one. Spells with * by their names are new additions.

Level Class Holy Disc
1 Smite
3 Shadow Word:Pain
5 Power Word: Shield
7 Flash Heal
9 Inner Fire
10 Chastise Penance
18 Resurrection  Holy Fire Holy Fire
22 Power Word: Fortitude
26 Dispel Magic Renew
28 Heal Spirit Shell*
30 Spirit of Redemption (passive)
32 Shadow Word: Death Holy Concentration (passive) Rapture (passive)
34 Levitate Greater Heal Greater Heal
36 Lightwell Inner Focus
38 Mind Control
42 Mind Vision
44 Evangelism (passive)
45 Grace (passive)
46 Prayer of Healing Holy Nova
48 Binding Heal
50 Mysticism (passive) Circle of Healing
54 Fear Ward
56 Chakra
58 Pain Suppression
64 Shadowfiend
66 Hymn of Hope
68 Prayer of Mending Prayer of Mending
70 Guardian Spirit Power Word: Barrier
72 Mass Dispel
74 Revelations (passive)
76 Mind Sear
78 Divine Hymn Train of Thought (passive)
80 Inner Will Mastery Mastery
84 Leap of Faith
87 Spectral Guise*

Mind Spike and Mind Blast have both turned up in the spell lists but as Shadow only. Not particularly happy about the PvP implications of that.

Going to be interesting to see how Holy Nova turns out now that it’s Discipline only and is Disc’s version of Prayer of Healing.

As far as I can tell, the only spells still missing are cure disease and shadow protection. However if we’re still going to get some form of disease removal I can see it being baked into the magic one, especially if they’re going to have cooldowns.

Amazed that Mass Dispel is still on the list. Really thought with the prospective changes to dispel mechanics it would have been the first thing out of the door. Glad that it’s staying around though, can’t have paladins and mages thinking they are safe in their pesky bubbles/ice-cubes.

The level 87 spell sounds interesting but possibly from a more PvP perspective than a raiding one, although I’m sure there will be uses for it in both spheres of the game.

Spectral Guise: Your Shadow blurs into the darkness, leaving your true form behind. As a shadow you are invisible, but remain in combat. Lasts 6 seconds or until until your true form is hit by 3 direct attacks. 30 second cool down.

Hopefully you’re a moving shadow, so sneaking off whilst someone is hitting you will be an option. Would be handy for getting a brief respite from bad tanking in 5 mans / LFR. If it does allow movement, Nightelf Priests might be able to have fun with it and Shadowmeld. If it allows you to carry on as normal whilst a shadow, i.e. healing away for those 6 seconds/3 hits, I like the concept a lot.

Spirit Shell, the new Disc ability sounds interesting too.

Creates an absorption shield on the target for 3864 damage lasting 8 sec. If the shield is untouched and expires, the target is healed for 80% of the amount.

Although it comes with a 3 second cast time.

I think we have to remember though, that in the case of quite a few spells, Holy Nova springs to mind, that the tooltips are odds on guaranteed to change.

 

Suppressing the Pain – A look at levelling a Priest through PvP (Part 3)

Same disclaimer as the previous two parts (which can be found here and here).

What this isn’t.

This isn’t a guide to PvPing at 85 although some of it may be useful to Priests at 85. In fact it isn’t really a guide at all, more of a practical look at making levelling through PvP less painful.

UI/Raid frames/Key binds

Whilst I’m not going to tell anyone else what to use, as it’s a very personal thing, I will say this: take the time to mentally (or on paper) map out where you are going to put each important spell right from the start. Also try and keep key binds similar from character to character. For example all my dispel type spells, (dispel magic, purge, spellsteal etc) live on the “R” key. Another example would be my expensive fast heals, which all live on “G”. That way, it’s easier to remember your bindings in the heat of the moment.

Glyphs

We now get our first set of glyphs at lv 25, then again at 50 and finally at 75.

Prime

Available at 25, we have the following:

  • Penance: Reduces the cooldown of Penance by 2 seconds.
  • Power Word: Shield: Your PW: Shield also heals the target for 2o percent of the absorption amount. (Shields are currently “bugged” in that shielding people doesn’t put you in combat, allowing you to take advantage of your out of combat regen whilst saving lives).
  • Flash Heal: Increases the critical effect chance of your flash heal on targets below 25 percent health by 10 percent.
  • Renew: Increases the amount healed by your Renew by 10 percent.

As Disc, it’s a fairly easy choice. Penance is your bread and butter spell, used for everything from interrupting people trying to ninja flags to healing others, so being able to cast it more frequently is a good thing. As Holy it’s bit a more lacklustre. Personally I would take a flat 10 percent bigger renew over a chance that my flash heal will crit if I’m healing someone below 25 percent health.

At 50,

As Disc, my second Prime glyph would be Power Word: Shield. However the following have also become available:

  • Lightwell: Increases the total number of charges by 5.
  • Prayer of Healing: Your prayer of healing spell also heals an additional 20 percent of it’s initial heal over 6 seconds.

Again as Holy it’s a slightly harder choice to make as  Power Word: Shield and Prayer of Healing are valid options, albeit somewhat lacklustre. If you intend taking Body and Soul and I imagine everyone levelling as Holy through PvP does, then the shield glyph gives you a bit more bang for your buck (as Mr Harpy’s Canadian relatives would say). If like me, you love Alterac Valley, then Prayer of Healing is useful, especially in games which end up coming down to resources, which happens quite often in the levelling brackets. Bottom line, if you’re combining dungeons with your PvP, I’d go for Prayer of Healing but if I was just running battleground after battleground, I would consider the shield one, however I think it’s one of the situations where 99 percent of the time, you’ll wish you had the other one.

By the time you reach 75, these two are added into the mix.

  • Guardian Spirit: Reduces the cooldown of your Guardian Spirit by 30 seconds
  • Power Word: Barrier: Increases the healing received whilst under the barrier by 10 percent

Finally, we have an obvious choice for Holy. Guardian Spirit is literally a life saver, being able to cast it more frequently is awesome. Because it’s not dispel-able, in mass PvP, dps often back off allowing you to take advantage of the healing buff Guardian Spirit provides so whether it procs or not, it’s a great spell to use in PvP. For Disc, my third Prime glyph choice would be one of the following, either Renew

Major

  • Inner Fire: Increases the armor gained from Inner Fire by 50 percent.
  • Smite: Your smite spell inflicts an additional 20 percent damage against targets afflicted by Holy Fire.
  • Divine Accuracy: Increases your chance to hit with Smite and Holy Fire by 18 percent.
  • 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 seconds.
  • Reduces the cooldown of Fade by 9 seconds

For both specs, I’d take Inner Fire here. The biggest issue, particularly at low levels are physicals, hunters/rogues/warriors so more armour is always welcome.

At lv 50, our choices include the above plus

  • Desperation: Allows Pain Suppression and Guardian Spirit to be cast whilst stunned.
  • Dispel Magic: Your dispel magic spells also heals the target for 3 percent of it’s maximum health when you successfully dispel something.

For Disc, I’d go for Desperation every time. It’s saved my life more times than I care to count.

As Holy things are slightly more complex, whereas Disc gets access to Pain Suppression at lv 49, Holy can’t reach Guardian Spirit until lv 69, so there is no point taking Desperation at lv 50. So personally, I’d go for Dispel Magic at this point. Yes, it’s not hugely exciting  but it’s another instant and instants in PvP against opponents with half a brain are king.

At lv 75, we now have access to:

  • Circle of Healing: Your circle of healing spell now heals one additional target
  • Fearward: Reduces the cooldown and duration of Fearward by 60 seconds
  • Holy Nova: Reduces the global cooldown of your Holy Nova by 0.5 seconds
  • Mass Dispel: Reduces the cast time of your Mass Dispel by 1 second
  • Prayer of Mending: The first charge of your Prayer of Mending spell heals for an additional 60 percent

Yet again, an easy choice for Disc, Mass Dispel is a key ability at later level PvP. Being able to swiftly remove those bubbles and iceblocks can make all the difference as to whether you get a quick kill or not. As Holy, I would swap Prayer of Mending with Dispel Magic (at lv 68) and then pick up Mass Dispel as my final Major glyph.

Minor

The choice at lv 25 is far from stellar. Personally I would take Fortitude until lv 34, when I would switch it with Levitate. Being able to leap happily off the LM or down to the GM without the fear of suddenly realising you’re out of light feathers seconds before you go splat in front of a crowd of Horde/Alliance is priceless.

At 50, I’d take back Fortitude, although with the grace period after every death in a battleground where buffs are free, it’s more for the quality of life aspect outside battlegrounds, especially if you’re running dungeons.

At 75, I’d pick up glyph of shadowfiend (recieve 5 percent of your maximum mana if your shadowfiend dies from damage).

Dispels

First set up your unit frames to show Unstable Affliction as a debuff in it’s own right. That way, it will always be the top debuff to show and then you can make informed decisions as to whether it’s worth risking the silence + damage to yourself to dispel.

Things you really want to dispel!

  • Paladins with wings. Whenever you encounter a Paladin past the Avenging Wrath level it’s worth doing a bit of pre-emptive dispelling to make sure it doesn’t take too many spell rotates to get rid of those wings. The burst is just too high to want to heal through. Keep yourself pre-shielded as well.
  • Shamans in ghostwolf. If they are running away, particularly if they have a flag clamped in their sticky paws. Plus half of them don’t seem to realise it’s dispel-able so watching them pop up, stand still for a second and then recast repeatedly is good for some amusement.
  • Poor unfortunates encased in ice.
  • CC from people helping you.
  • Your vehicles in SotA. Get those snares off a.s.a.p. That’s an example of one situation where I would say it’s better to eat a silence from Unstable Affliction rather than let a vehicle crawl to it’s death slowed by one Mage.

Targetting

Switch on enemy nameplates. This lets you see enemies even when you don’t have a line of sight on them. Crucial for spotting people hiding behind houses trying to tag nodes and other such sneaky behaviour. To find it, go to Options (hit ESC) -> Keybinding and then scroll down the list until you come across this:

Add a keybinding if there isn’t one already there and get used to switching it on.

I also recommend Tidy Plates, an addon which allows you to show CC with timers on the name plates, as well as turning them class coloured for easy identification. For example, if I’m PvPing with a rogue, I’d be able to see his kidney shot ticking down so I could time my fear to land just before or just after his stun finishes, rather than wasting or overlapping cc.

Final Points

Don’t be one of those Priests I keep running into who insist on using heal/greater heal when fighting people with kicks. Prioritise instants and then your faster casts in those situations, particularly if you’ve got melee/mages or shamans beating up on you.

If you put a talent point in something, looking at Lightwell here, use it. My heart breaks a little bit every time I’m defending a flag carrier along side a Holy Priest and I have to ask them if they took Lightwell because 100 percent of the time so far, they did but they haven’t bothered putting one down.

Accept that especially at low levels, you will die a LOT.

Above all, remember PvP should be fun and when all else fails, throw someone off the Lumber Mill cliff. It’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Low level PvP and Priests – Suppressing the Pain (part 2)

Same disclaimer as part 1.

What this isn’t.

This isn’t a guide to PvPing at 85 although some of it may be useful to Priests at 85. In fact it isn’t really a guide at all, more of a practical look at making levelling through PvP less painful.

Drinks and other methods of regenerating mana.

Low level drinks really haven’t scaled well so your best option for AB and WSG (once you hit lv 25) are the rations you buy from their respective quartermasters. From lv 55 onwards, you can do the same for Alterac Valley.

Alliance gets their WSG water from Illiyana Moonblaze and their AB water from Samuel Hawke. The Horde should visit Kelm Hargunth and the awesomely named Rutherford Twing respectively.

As these are counted as food, you can still and should drink your ordinary water for an extra boost at the same time. Holidays and other such festivals are also good for drinks, think bobbing apples from Hallows End and Festival Dumplings. Unfortunately these tend to be limited to the duration of the festival but are usable in any battleground.

You also want to keep an eye out for the chests with the green leaf on top as shown below. These restore 10 percent of your health and mana every second for 10 seconds but attacking or being attacked will cancel the buff so in order to make sure you get the most out of it, be aware of your surroundings. Fear plus line of sight can be really useful.

In WSG, they always spawn in the houses below the graveyards (handy for camping the opposing faction) and are on a relatively swift timer. In EoTS and AB, they have a chance to spawn at any of the bases (along with the movement speed buff and the berserker buff). In EoTS, they appear inside the towers and in AB most are fairly obvious apart from the one at the Farm which spawns inside the house.

Buffs

Rumsey Rum Black Label, (provides 15 stamina for 15 minutes, doesn’t last after death) the preferred tipple of twinks everywhere is worth picking up if you have a high enough level character to enter the Old Hillsbrad instance (I think it requires lv 67). You shouldn’t need to kill anything, just ride straight out of the entrance to Southshore and go into the Pub, where you can buy the rum from Barkeep Kelly for 2 silver each. The only limit to how much you can pick up is your bag space and they stack in 10s.

Gear

Basic overview of Stats

Stamina is king, especially at lower levels since certain classes (glares at rogues and hunters) seem to spend their whole lives looking for people they can oneshot, the higher your health pool, the less appealing target you make.

Resilience. Damage prevention is always good, however below lv 70 there aren’t that many options. The PvP shoulder heirlooms provide some, as does the BoA PvP trinket. Once you hit Outlands though and socketed gear, your options do increase dramatically.

Next up, the bigger your heals, the better. More intellect gives you more spell power and works well alongside the Discipline specialisations, Enlightenment in particular. Regen is less important because you can and should drink out of combat as well as pick up the green buffs whenever you see one. Plus, given the bursty nature of low level PvP, combat periods do tend to be fairly short.

Spell hit/penetration. As healing Priests, you will be doing a fair bit of offensive work, dispelling, fearing and mindcontrolling in particular, so try and pick up some hit/penetration as soon as possible. Hit is a lot easier than spell pen to obtain at low levels (below 60) but from 20 onwards you can use the WSG trinket (rune of perfection) for a bit of spell penetration. Once you get dispel magic, remember to remove buffs like mark of the wild/blessing of Kings as soon as possible.

Gear

There are some really nice blue dungeon quest items hidden away and since Blizzard have made things so much simpler by popping all the quests in the dungeon entrance, it’s little effort for the rewards. I tend to focus more on dungeons when I’m in the bottom level of the bracket but it adds a change of pace, especially if you hit a losing streak.

Purchasable with Honor.

If you aren’t Human, your first honor purchase (unless you have an inherited BoA one) should be an Insignia of the Alliance/Horde. Bought from Sergeant Major Clate (Alliance) and First Sergeant Hola’mahi (Horde) in Stormwind and Orgrimmar respectively (It’s on page 3 of their wares). Costing only 55 honor, it should only take you a couple of games to earn the honor for it.  The 5 minute cooldown is a pain, but it’s the best you can get at until level 70. At level 70 you should immediately update it for a 2 minute one.

Alliance

At lv 18 you want to visit Illiyana Moonblaze (she’s hiding at my cursor), the Silverwing Supply Officer in Ashenvale. She offers a range of goodies which include a blue ring, staff and cloak. These can be upgraded (for more honor) every 10 levels until you hit lv 60. You might even want to consider the agi/stam necklace, especially when lv 28 because of it’s high stamina. There are also epic bracers which become available at lv 40.

Unfortunately you have to go back at lv 20 for the trinket, but since trinkets at these levels are hard to come by, it’s worth making the trek even if you aren’t questing in Kalimdor.

At lv 28, check out the goods offered by the Arathi Basin quartermaster. It’s the same deal as with WSG, every 10 levels you can upgrade the items. The quartermaster can be found at the Refuge Pointe in Arathi Basin, near the flight master. These include boots (with movement speed) and a belt, plus another trinket.

Horde

The Horde equilivent for WSG is Kelm Hargunth, the Warsong Offensive Supply Officer who can be found just south of the Morshan Rampants in the Barrens. For AB, you need to visit Rutherford Twing, who lives out the back of Hammerfall in the Arathi Highlands.

Both

At 60 I would recommend the full Grand Marshal PvP set. I was still wearing some pieces of mine when I hit 70, it’s definitely worth it, if like me, you are unlucky with dungeon drops or lacking on heirlooms.

At 70, again I would recommend buying the full PvP set plus accessories if you can afford it. Not only does it come with a lot of sockets for stat customisation but it gives resilience which is crucial in these brackets, especially as burst dps increases.

As soon as you hit lv 70 or so, you want to start checking the AH for Cataclysm greens and BoE blues. The lowest level you can equip this stuff is lv 77 but the more you have by then, the better. You can also enter Black Rock Caverns at lv 77 even though it doesn’t appear in the dungeon finder until lv 80 so if you have friends or guildmates who can run you through, great.

Random items which are worth buying with spare honor.

The Alliance Battle standard/Horde Battle standard. These are basically totems which increase you and your party’s health by 15 percent as long as they stay within a 45 yard radius of the standard. They cost 500 honor and should be one of your first purchases as soon as you’ve bought your PvP trinket plus any lv 18 blues than are upgrades. Whilst they are killable with AoE, they have 1500 health which in the low level brackets is about as much as most of the players. At higher levels you just need to get more creative with your placement if you want it to survive.

Pugnacious Priest has a great guide to hiding your battle standard but the basic rule of thumb is try and put it off to one side. Don’t stand next to it unless you want whoever is attacking you to kill it without having to think.

The Stormpike/Frostwolf Battle Standard. Same principle as above only this one increases damage not health by 10 percent. This one is less useful as it’s only usable in AV but if you’re alone and the other battle standard is on cooldown, it’s a nice 2 minute trinket.

Part 3 coming later this week.

Suppressing the Pain – A look at levelling a Healing Priest through PvP (part 1)

What this isn’t.

This isn’t a guide to PvPing at 85 although some of it may be useful to Priests at 85. In fact it isn’t really a guide at all, more of a practical look at making levelling through PvP less painful.

Inspired by conversations had with levelling Priests and my own experiences of levelling almost entirely through battlegrounds, here is my thoughts on healing your way to 85 through PvP.

The Basics

  • You can queue to two named battlegrounds at once OR random. So before random becomes available always queue to two.
  • Shift M brings up a cute little map which you can place wherever you want on your screen. Now that Blizzard have given us an amazing animation when we’re looking at the map, you don’t want to be doing it in battlegrounds. It tells the enemy exactly what you’re doing and where your focus is, potentially allowing them to ninja flags or kill you before you can react.
  • Carry lots of water and don’t sit drinking whilst looking at the map unless you want a rogue to ambush you.
  • Should you happen to be defending the Farm in Arathi Basin (which is technically bad planning on your part since the LM is far more fun), dispel chickens to keep yourself in combat so pesky rogues can’t sap -> tag. This also goes for any nodes with critters running about.

Talents/Spec

Both Holy and Disc are viable, however personally I prefer Discipline because of a few key talents. That said Chastise is awesome and exceedingly annoying if you are on the receiving end of it. However Chakra itself is a Benediction mark 2, a giant neon glittery sign yelling “Over here I’m a Holy Priest, come kill me”.

Discipline

Things I consider essential in a Discipline Build for levelling through PvP.

I was tempted towards Atonement but since I had a pet rogue in my pocket, I focused more on healing/damage mitigation rather than my dps. I also found that for a good chunk of the game, up to 81 plus in fact, that reflective shield plus the two dots kept up was enough to beat most classes one v one. However without a pet dpser, I would definitely try it, especially in the levels before mindspike.

2/2 Improved Power word: Shield. You want your shields to be as big as possible, especially since the game is currently bugged so that shielding people doesn’t put you in combat.

2/2 Soul Warding.

1/1 Inner Focus, especially when taken with 2/2 Strength of Soul. Not only can you annoy your teammates with what has to be one of the most irritating noises in game (up there with spellsteal and mindspike) but you can annoy the opposing team also by being temporarily immune to silences/interrupts and dispels.

2/2 Reflective Shield. I love this and it’s responsible for the vast majority of my 1 v 1 victories over melee dpsers en route to 85. You will be shielding yourself regardless and since you are likely to be the target of any half decent players, hurting them in a semi afk fashion is not to be sneezed at. Besides, watching some melee (it’s usually a deathknight) run at you on 5 percent health, hit your shield and go splat is priceless.

Pain Suppression. For obvious reasons.

3/3 Grace. The bigger your heals the less healing you need to do. Not only does this help your mana, it means you can ride out silences and interrupts better.

2/2 Focused Will. 10 percent less damage taken, yes please.

Power Word: Barrier. So you can have bubbles inside your bubbles.

So at 69, my levelling Disc build would look like this. As for the Holy points to complement those, I went for these. Desperate Prayer in it’s current state is a must for PvP.

Holy

If I were Holy, I would pick the following up as soon as possible.

1/1 Desperate Prayer. In it’s current incarnation it’s awesome and works really well as a lifesaver when combined with Healthstone.

2/2 Inspiration. Anything which reduces damage taken is a good thing, especially in low level battlegrounds.

1/1 Lightwell. The fact that you can use it whilst stunned and otherwise cc’ed makes it an amazing PvP tool. Add into that, the fact that they either have to kill the Lightwell, time when they aren’t hitting you or accept you healing from it, means that it can be very useful.

1/1 Chakra. Although you want to get into the habit of dropping the chakra state for the extra cc of chastise as soon as you pick up this talent point.

1/1 Revelations.

2/2 Blessed Resilience. You will be hit for more than 10 percent of your health on a regular basis, thus in any type of PvP where people are actively trying to kill you, this will be up most of the time.

3/3 Test of Faith. Given the burst damage of certain low level classes, feral druids, hunters and rogues spring to mind, people will be below 50 percent health quite a lot whilst levelling, thus more healing is a good thing.

Key Abilities in PvP

Mind Vision. Your team can’t find the enemy flag carrier, mind vision them. You want to know what the enemy team looks like before the game starts, mind vision them. You see a rogue riding up to a node that you’re defending, mindvision them. It won’t break even when they drop into stealth, in fact as far as I can tell only vanish and cloak of shadows break it right now (shadowmeld might as well). You can either send your team-mates in to kill them or if solo, wait until they are close enough and then break them out of stealth with holy nova/dots/fear. Invisibility might but haven’t found a mage to test it on yet.

Mind Control. Chucking people off cliffs never gets old, especially when they are elemental shamans themselves. Running flag carriers away from their healers and/or the flag capping position is another great use of this spell. It can also be used as a general cc. Imagine that there are two of you trying to cap a node in AB with one of their team defending. Perhaps all three of you are healers and you know that support is coming to help the defender. Mind control him, run him away from the flag whilst the other person caps. I particularly like it in AV, throwing people out of bunkers/towers is a great way of defending them. When defending the Alliance bunkers, try and throw them out the side away from the door though.

Mana Burn. The Bane of Healers. If we have multiple healers, especially if the others aren’t Priests, I tend to leave the healing to them and focus on manaburning the enemy healers down.

Macros

Priest Specific

Shadowfiends

/cast Shadowfiend
/petattack
/use 10

As it says on the tin, casts shadowfiend, sets him to aggressive and casts shadow crawl. You have to be looking at an enemy target for this to work but since I heal either through Vudho (other people) or alt + keybinds (myself), I tend to be.

Another version would be

#showtooltip
/cast [nopet] Shadowfiend
/petattack
/cast Shadowcrawl

Desperate Prayer

/cast Desperate Prayer
/use Healthstone

Uses both Desperate Prayer and a Healthstone if you have one.

Mouseover Mind Control

#showtooltip Mind Control
/cast [target=mouseover, harm, nodead] Mind Control; Mind Control

What I love about this is the element of surprise. Because you are looking at someone else, the victim of the mind control can often be half way to the cliff before they realise what is going on. If you don’t have a mouseover target, it will cast it on whoever you are looking at, assuming that they are an enemy.

Mouseover Mana Burn

For the same reasons as above, it’s hard to dodge or avoid if you think it’s being cast on someone else.

#showtooltip Mana Burn
/cast [target=mouseover, harm, nodead] Mana Burn; Mana Burn

General

This is my “OMG HELP ME PLX” macro. Basically it takes my location from the map and pops it into chat with an “incoming at” message. So instead of trying to fend off two bloodelf rogues and a goblin shaman whilst running around typing, now I can focus on survival after hitting the macro once or twice. Unfortunately it doesn’t make people come and rescue you, but at least you can die knowing you told them of your impending doom.
/script SendChatMessage(format(">>>>>>INCOMING at %s<<<<<<",
GetMinimapZoneText()),"Battleground");

You need to take out the return between  the comma and GetMinimapZoneText however because I couldn’t get it to display right any other way.

Part 2 will look at gear, glyphs and anything else which occurs to me in the meantime.

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