Every week (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a UI and addons blog for WoW. Too bad he was too busy running heroics to come to the aid of the King!
With the new dungeon finder tool released, I felt it was a good idea to write up how a priest should handle themselves in instances with a group of players they don't know. Once I started using the system, I became exposed to a large variety of different personalities, skill levels and gear levels. Quite the experience grouping with players packing gear ranging from Trial of the Grand Crusader to the random hunter wielding the grey bow of death.
My approach to pugging has not been that different since the pre-dungeon tool era when players would randomly form up in groups for whatever the heroic daily was. After a while, I stopped doing heroics because I didn't need the emblems anymore. In the end, I had to re-learn and remember some of the core philosophies I held onto when I dived back into the world of running heroic dungeons again.
You set the pace
Traditionally, the pace of the dungeon is set by the healer. As long as the healer has enough mana in the tank, trash can be chain pulled. In fact, I've noticed that speed and efficiency continue to be the norm. I'm not talking about pull speeds to the point where it could be considered reckless. The tanks I've grouped with are pulling the next set of trash the moment the current is nearly finished.
I've had tanks take one look at me and go "Whoa! Legendary! I'm in good hands" before they begin grabbing everything within visual range expecting me to keep them and the group alive. I barely even have time to breathe because the action is just so frantic.
Not every priest can handle pulls of that magnitude. Lay down some guidelines if you like. Don't ever be afraid to speak up when you're down to low mana levels. I like to tell the tanks at the beginning that they're cleared to continue pulling as long as my mana bar is about a quarter full or if I don't say anything about drinking.
A strong healer is able to support an undergeared group. Slightly weak tank? No problem! Pile them with extra overhealing if necessary. Slightly weak DPS players? That's okay since your mana pool or mana regeneration is high enough to endure the length of the boss fight, however long it takes.
Bring your own consumables
Specifically, don't forget to bring water. I keep 2 stacks of Honeymint Tea. Runic Mana Potions can come in handy in case you need them in a pinch. If you plan on being in there for the long haul, consider investing in a Flask of the Frost Wyrm or a Flask of Pure Mojo.
I tend to forget about using Power Infusion. Have any casters in your party? Hit them with the haste buff every chance you get. They'll love you for it. Even defensive cooldowns like Guardian Spirit of Pain Suppression can come in handy with larger trash groups that might jeopardize the tank. It also demonstrates that, y'know, you're awesome.
You are buffing every player, right? It should go without saying but I'm going to say it anyway because I've been in groups were certain players forget to hand out buffs.
Did your group wipe inside? No problem. Automatic rebuff. Did a player die to slimes or something? Automatic rebuff. There's no need to spite someone. For me personally, I want to get in the dungeon and finish up quickly so I can move on to other items (like getting Loremaster or something).
Speaking of wipes, definitely release and run back. Politely remind everyone to do it as well if you happen to notice some players not releasing. At the same time though, if there's a legitimate AFK, I don't mind casting a resurrect on someone inside when I reach their corpse. I already spend the time flying or running back. I don't want to spend even more time waiting for them to do the same, so II end up telling them to stay down. Emblems are the only reason I'm there and I want to get it over with. If that means spending 10 precious second to res someone, so be it.
Roll on the gear that you're going to use. That doesn't mean rolling need on Frozen Orbs unless it is agreed upon in advance. Get healing trinkets if you plan on doing that. Pass (or greed) on the DPS trinkets if you're not planning on dishing out the face melt.
Handling the haters and the bad players
Inevitably, you're going to run into the bad players. Maybe he's the guy that likes to hit the target the tank isn't on forcing you to unload heals on him. Maybe she's the tank that has difficulty maintaining threat. Maybe he's the guy that likes to chat and dish out some attitude. Maybe she likes to stand in fires. Or that player just happens to be AFK.
There's nothing you can really change about it other than dropping out of the queue and eating the dungeon timer debuff.
Me personally, I'll bite the bullet and just do my job. I don't pay attention to party chat anyway. If someone's being especially nasty, I'll whip out the vote to kick option. It's been used twice to great effect (both against AFK players actually).
I try to assume the best in everyone. Jaded thinking? Probably. Everyone was new once. And being a veteran of one class or role doesn't make them an automatic expert at the other (I'm a terrible ret paladin, for one). Besides, it gives me a bit of an extra challenge for healing and allows me to hone my skills further.
So don't let the bozos get you down!
Want to find more great tips for carrying out your Priestly duties? Spiritual Guidance has you covered with all there is to know! And don't forget to check out our other Leveling Guides as well as our Wrath Guides and Galleries!