As a holy priest, you should place at least 13 points into the discipline tree so you can get 3 points in Meditation. In the holy tree there are a lot of options available to you. Below are a few different types of holy trees. Remember that there is no one correct spec for healing.
- Casting priest: This tree could be for a priest who prefers more cast heals like Greater Heal and Flash Heal.
- Spamming priest: This tree could be used by a priest who likes to spam Renew for preemptive healing on his raid or party.
- Utilipriest: This is just a dummy spec, not one I necessarily would use. Though it is workable, it picks out the two big utility talents in the holy tree in place of some throughput and preparedness.
7. Talent overview
Talents in italics are considered not mandatory. Talents with a strike through them should not be taken.
- Twin Disciplines - 5/5: A boring but excellent talent. This will help your overall healing.
- Improved Inner Fire - 3/3: Even though you need this to get to Meditation anyway, the spellpower bonus that this talent yields is fantastic. The extra charges will help you get through most encounters with your Inner Fire up the whole time.
- Improved Power Word: Fortitude - 2/2: You need 10 talents to get to Meditation, and this is one of the best options on the way. You might as well take this talent in case there isn't another priest in the raid.
- Meditation - 3/3: As I've already implied, taking all ranks in this talent is invaluable for your mana regeneration.
- Inner Focus - 1/1: This is the only discipline talent I don't consider mandatory. I always use it on my own trees, but I know people who don't. The longer cooldown on this ability means you will likely only be able to use it a few times during an encounter. For this reason, I take it and save it for a high mana cost spell, like Divine Hymn or Prayer of Healing.
- Healing Focus - 0/2: There isn't a lot of push back that you're going to have to worry about, but there are fights where it does happen, and I have lost a target before by not having this talent. I consider it a "better safe than sorry" talent, but I have run though numerous instances without it as well.
- Improved Renew - 0/3: If you use Renew this is a great talent.
- Holy Specialization - 5/5: This buys you an extra 5% chance to crit on all your heals, so it's amazing.
- Spell Warding - 0/5: These talents can reduce the spell damage you take by up to 10%. This means more survivability and thus less healing you'll need to do on yourself. So far in ICC, this has done a lot more for me than Healing Focus.
- Divine Fury - 0/5: This talent is only really useful if you cast Greater Heal. If you use Greater Heal only once in a blue moon, skip this and get Serendipity instead.
- Desperate Prayer - 0/1: Like Spell Warding, this talent will help you stay alive. It is a cheap, mana efficient, instant cast self heal. It's not mandatory if it doesn't suit your play style but it's extremely useful.
Blessed Recovery- 0/3: Do not take this talent. It's a PvP talent that has little to no utility in PvE.
- Inspiration - 3/3: There is really no reason to not take this spell. It can proc off every spell you cast, except Renew, and passive damage mitigation is good, preemptive healing.
- Holy Reach - 2/2: You absolutely need to take this spell as a holy priest. Your Circle of Healing loses a great deal of its usefulness if you don't.
- Improved Healing - 0/3: These talents aren't particularly useful if you don't cast Greater Heal. The reduction to the cost of Divine Hymn isn't justifiable since it's a once per encounter ability.
Searing Light- 0/2: Never ever, ever take this talent for raiding or healing 5-mans! It's okay when you're solo or leveling, but as a healer it's one of those things you drop.
- Healing Prayers - 0/2: Since you're going to be using Prayer of Mending all the time, you'd benefit from dropping points in this. Prayer of Mending is a pretty cheap though, so if you like, feel free to allocate these 2 talents elsewhere. On the other hand, if you find yourself using Prayer of Healing a lot, this talent will surely take the bite off the cost.
- Spirit of Redemption - 1/1: You don't take this for the Spirit of Redemption, you take it for the 5% spirit. Angel form is just a perk.
- Spiritual Guidance - 5/5: Absolutely mandatory for a holy priest. Without it you're going to handicap your spellpower potential for no reason.
- Surge of Light - 1/2: I like 2 points in Surge of Light, but I know some priests who say 1 is enough because your Circle of Healing is guaranteed to yield at least 1 crit. I've seen cases where it didn't, so I go for 2 points. It's your call.
- Spiritual Healing - 5/5: This is a straight buff to all your spells, so take it.
- Holy Concentration - 3/3: This is vital to your mana regeneration as a holy priest and thus mandatory.
- Lightwell - 0/1: Oh, Lightwell. The victim of great ridicule, and recipient of much praise. In honesty, it's a great spell to just use for yourself, even if everyone laughs at you. You can click and receive a heal from Lightwell during most disables, and when glyphed it's incredibly powerful.
- Blessed Resilience - 0/3: This is a PvP talent with some throughput options that make it useful for PvE. Some people take it, some people don't.
- Body and Soul - 0/2: I do and do not recommend this talent. In one hand, it's an amazing talent with a utility that can save you and your raid members from movement related dangers. In the other hand, it promotes sloppy play. You can do everything in this game without Body and Soul. If you use Body and Soul to get out of binds, ask yourself why you were in that bind in the first place. Did you move when you should have? Were you paying attention? Body and Soul certainly is a fun ability but it is far from necessary and easy to get dependent on. That all said, the 50/100% chance to dispel poison is useful in 5 and 10-mans when you might not have another healer who can dispel poisons, so it might be worth taking if you find yourself solo healing.
- Empowered Healing - 0/5: This is not mandatory but it's extremely useful just for the Binding Heal bonus. As a priest, dying to miscellaneous raid damage is not acceptable in my book, because of Binding Heal. While it won't save you from walking face first into a malleable goo, it should keep you alive from the raid damage on Blood Queen, Festergut, Rotface, and many other encounters in ICC. In the case of this talent, the extra 20% healing is a great reason alone to take it.
- Serendipity - 0/3: I myself consider this spell mandatory, but since there are a lot of priests who disagree I've kept it as optional. With my raid team it's very rare that I'll cast Greater Heal or Prayer of Healing, but the likelihood of it goes up dramatically when I do so at 12-36% reduced cast time.
- Empowered Renew - 1/3: At least 1 point in Empowered Renew is mandatory in my book. This will allow your Renew the chance to crit on its initial application, and that can proc any of your on crit talents. If you're a big fan of Renew, obviously you can drop more talents into this one.
- Circle of Healing - 1/1: If you're a holy priest who doesn't take Circle of Healing, are you really a holy priest? Is a cupcake without frosting still a cupcake? The answer to both questions is yes, but who the heck wants to eat a cupcake without frosting? Likewise, no priest should deny themselves Circle of Healing. It is your signature ability; take it. (By the way, if you answer that cupcake question with "I would." I'm not going to bother inviting you to the weekly tea party with the mages!)
- Test of Faith - Rank 0/3: Everytime I meet a priest who doesn't take this, their justification is: "Well, ideally I never let my targets get below 50%." My answer is: "Do we prepare for the best or the worst?" This talent is not something you're going to use all the time (and during farm content feel free to swap it out for something else) but in progression I consider these talents a must. Sure it won't help you top meters, but it will help you save people in a bind; that is infinitely more important. You'll hear me say this again later with gems: a small percentage gain (such as the one from Blessed Resilience) will rarely make or break a heal that was already coming, but a 12% bonus on a dying target can make a big difference between him living or not. Remember being a good healer isn't the same as being top on an HPS meter.
- Divine Providence - 5/5: Mandatory. This buffs everything you use, and reduces the cooldown on your most used spell.
- Guardian Spirit - 1/1: Mandatory. Because even if you rarely use it, it's there just in case. You might have this funny idea that you'll never need it, because you'll never let your targets get to the point where it's required. But again, what do we prepare for? Same thing as before: the worst.
8. Leveling as Holy
While certainly possible, it's an incredible chore to level holy if you're playing solo. If you level with a friend you'll have an easier time completing quest tasks, but you may find yourself doing more healing than damage in that arrangement. This is probably what you want if you're condemning yourself to this fate, granted, but I figured I'd say it just to state the obvious.
If you absolutely must solo level as holy, be prepared to drink a lot. Feel free to go a bit deeper into the discipline tree and get Power Word: Shield talents, and possibly Meditation. Power Word: Shield combined with Glyph of Holy Nova will let you play a bit like a mage by AoEing several mobs down at a time, but you'll still end up drinking a whole lot. As a word of warning, mana problems persist until level cap.
If you would like to level using the dungeon finder tool, you can expect better queue times as a healer. You'll have to drink before most pulls to keep your mana up, so try to haggle some food out of a mage you might end up grouping with.
The stats on heirloom gear (Tattered Dreadmist Robe, Tattered Dreadmist Mantle, Dignified Headmaster's Charge, Devout Aurastone Hammer) that priests can equip is useful to priests of every spec, so if you
A more comprehensive leveling guide for priests will be coming in a few weeks, and featuring "his shadowy-ness," Fox Van Allen.