I've had a lot of requests recently from readers who want a leg up on gearing out their soon to be level 80, or fresh level 80 priest for raiding. This is certainly a worthwhile topic, one I intend to get to, but not this week.
We get a lot of mail at WoW.com and this past week we got an e-mail from a player named Nemikahn who wrote a WoW version of the song Sunscreen. The various staffers read through the e-mail, groaned in realization at how old they were (the original song came out in 1998) before the e-mail got lost in the jumble of BlizzCon 2010 news. I really enjoyed the rewrite though, and thought it rather timely given we are nearing the end of this expansion. Cataclysm is coming, and it's supposed to change everything we've become familiar with. So, this week my fellow priests, my guidance is this: stop and smell the flowers. WoW operates at such a hurried pace these days. Don't feel like you always have to rush off to the next raid or complete another alt. Take more screen shots, visit your favorite zones, make sure you can contact your closest friends in the game outside of it, and most of all: create Benediction. I will, of course, help you with that last part.
Benediction is an epic staff once sought by level 60 priests during vanilla WoW. You can see it in the picture above, shining like a beacon of holy healing. The staff also has a special use ability which transforms it into Anathema, the then shadowy counterpart of the staff. You can see it below.
While the stats on either version of the staff don't hold a Devout Candle to the gear we have today, I encourage priests to seek out this staff for the sake of completing the quest that accompanies it. Even if you're not a big lore nerd, this is just one of those quests. You know, the ones you remember. As a priest I felt really in touch with my healing roots after completing it, and the task of the quest is one of the more unique experiences I've ever encountered in the game. Lore is one reason to get it done, the other is that you might not be able to complete the quest once Cataclysm comes out. I can't confirm anything granted, but running Molten Core is a significant part of starting the quest. If Molten Core changes, it's possible the Benediction quest will as well. And though they could update the quests for level 85 priests, I'm doubtful since class specific quests or items don't exactly fit with Bizzard's current agenda of letting everyone see the content they create. So with that all said, let me tell you about how to start your journey toward Benediction.
The staff is created by combining a Splinter of Nordrassil, an Eye of Divinity, and an Eye of Shadow.
Let's start with the Eye of Shadow. I say start because it may or may not be the easiest thing for you to acquire. An Eye of Shadow is a BoE drop and can be found off demon mobs in southern Winterspring or south western Blasted Lands. The drop rate is between 1-2% so you could be in for quite a bit of farming, but wait! Before you rush off to the flight master, I suggest you check out the auction house first. I found my Eye of Shadow for 100g a year ago on a low pop server. I've seen them several times since then, varying in price from 50g to 500g. Of course, by writing this article I suspect demand (and thus the price) might go up, so the sooner you secure one for yourself the better. Once you have it, hold onto it.
Next is the Eye of Divinity. The Eye of Divinity drops from Cache of the Firelord, a chest that spawns after you defeat Majordomo Executus, the second to last boss of Molten Core. The drop rate is pretty good so ideally you won't need to run the raid more than a few times if you're the only priest. At 80, my guild mates and I rolled through this instance about as fast as it took to run through it. We brought 8 people for reputation and achievements, but I think you could easily 5-man it if the group was organized. If you choose to PUG it, you might want a bit more since half of the PUGs will probably be lost all the time. I would also recommend you try and find someone who knows the instance if you aren't familiar with it, as it is a bit of a maze getting to Executus.
One thing you should know is that hunters have a similar quest item that can be found in the cache. Their quest yields a very cool looking bow called Rhok'delar. (Maybe Frostheim will cover it in a future edition of Scattered Shots?) If you have a hunter friend, you might want to convince him to embark on this quest with you so if you're not lucky early on you'll have a buddy to accompany you each time. Oh one last thing... If you're a Wrath raider, and this is your first time stepping into Molten Core, be prepared for endless amounts of trash. It makes Ulduar look about as populated as Shattrath.
After you've acquired both eyes you're ready to start the quest "The Balance of Light and Shadow," which will let you acquire the Splinter of Nordrassil. Head to the Eastern Plaguelands and ride out to Stratholme. When you ride across the bridge to the city don't enter the instance portal, but instead turn left and travel until you find a cave. The cave is a tunnel, and on the other side it will open up to a small clearing of your typical Plaguelands scenery. You should now open your inventory and equip the Eye of Divinity in one of your two trinket slots. When you do this, you will be able to see a quest giver standing on a small hill not far from the opening of the cave. The quest giver is Eris Havenfire. (If you can't see her with the trinket equipped, wait 15 minutes, as it might mean someone recently failed the quest.) I don't want to spoil the story of the quest for you, but she will task you with saving the spirits of peasants who died when Stratholme was razed.
This is where things get tricky. I have not completed the quest recently but when I did it was somewhat bugged. If after accepting the quest I moved from the location I was standing, I would fail the quest even if I was doing everything else right. If you fail the quest Eris will despawn for 15 minutes before you can try again. I failed the quest two times before I completed it, and let me tell you that sitting there for 30 minutes, feeling the guilt of failure is pretty depressing, and akin to the years spent... Well, again, I don't want to spoil the quest for you. Anyway, when you start the quest you will see waves of peasant spirits appear and start walking towards a pillar of light to the west. Your job is to make sure 50 of those peasants get to the light without dying from disease or skeleton mobs that will also spawn. If 15 of the peasants die before you save 50 of them, you will fail the quest. So, to succeed you will need to heal peasants at low health, use Abolish Disease on peasants who are infected with disease, and kill the skeletons. Make cleansing the disease your priority, as it will kill the peasants faster than the skeletons. The disease will make the peasants appear shadowy, so they're easy to spot. After that you can prioritize the spirits with the lowest health by showing their health bars with the V key. As for killing skeletons, I never was able to kill any since I was stuck standing in one spot, but I've read that priests used to spec into Holy Nova to kill the skeletons. I could never get in range of them to do this, nor dot them up, so I eventually stopped trying and just healed through the damage they inflicted. (They would occasionally aggro onto me, which is when I used Holy Nova.) I was disc when I completed the quest, so I used Penance, Flash Heal, and Renew primarily. At the time you couldn't Power Word: Shield outside of your party so that was useless, but if you're disco you might want to try it once since that was changed recently. If you're a holy priest, Empowered Renew will probably be very handy, as would Circle of Healing if it works. (Update: Balmore has informed us that CoH doesn't work.) Since it's supposed to just heal raid and party members I'm not sure if it will be effective. Perhaps someone in the comments will know if it does or not? Let us know. If not, you can just try it once and find out.
After you save the peasants and complete the quest, Eris will rejoice and give you the Splinter of Nordrassil. Assuming you already have the Eye of Shadow, you can now create your epic staff. Congratulations! You can now AFK at the Dalaran bank in nostalgic style. You can also delete it and roll your eyes at me for collecting RP clothes. Either way, I hope you enjoy the quest if you've never done it before.
Update: Since a lot of people have asked about the gear my toon is wearing in the screen shots I figured I'd post an update.
In the first screen shot my priest is wearing two pieces of the Black Temple versions of Tier 6 (Amice of Brilliant Light and Gloves of Unfailing Faith.) These particular pieces of gear came in white instead of black, but had no set bonuses. Those two pieces are all I have from that 'set,' but if you want to farm the matching pieces they are: Cowl of Benevolence and Garments of Temperance. (For those of you who read along each week and read Holy? Disc? We're all priests, this is actually the gear I first saw Baba in.) The robe I wear to substitute the BT robes is Gossamer Robe, a random drop from vanilla. The helm is Crown of Festival Fire from the midsummer holiday event.
The gear in the Anathema screen shot is more obvious. It is actual Tier 6 (Cowl of Absolution, Vestments of Absolution, and Gloves of Absolution) plus a belt from arena season 4 (Guardian's Mooncloth Belt.) I'm happy to see I'm inspiring you all with my RP wardrobe!
Want to find more great tips for carrying out your Priestly duties? Spiritual Guidance has you covered with all there is to know! Check out Holy 101 or Disc 101 for an introduction to healing as a priest, or Assessing yourself for advice on how to improve yourself as a healer and raider.