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Spiritual Guidance: Measuring a Priest

Matt Low

Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is now Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. With summer half way through and some guilds in various states of disarray, Matticus will help you figure out what to look for when recruiting a Holy Priest!

Stop me if you've heard this one. A guild you know of has stopped raiding due to the summer season. Players are losing interest or are leaving the game or the guild entirely to go pursue other activities. It just so happens one of the characters lost is a really good Holy Priest! The replacements picked up just didn't perform up to the standard of the old Priest! Even though the new Priest has more healing, more regen, and better gear, they're still struggling on their healing jobs! What gives? Don't worry! This week, I plan on helping you dispel (get it?) a few myths, provide some raiding benchmarks and provide a few places to go to get your raid back and running in full gear again.

Before I get started, let's get this important question out of the way first.

What does +heal really mean?

I'm looking at the little stat in your character screen that we all value so heavily. Every healer, no matter what class, has been taught to rank this stat highly. It's clear as day why because the higher the number, the more health we can restore.

But is it an accurate measure of a player's skill?

Your healing is not so much a measure of skill. There will never be one true objective and accurate way to measure a player's healing skill. Throughout my experience in raiding be it a pickup group or guild sanctioned, I have noticed that healing has been frequently viewed as such. That is not what it means.

At its core, healing is the amount of healing a player can potentially do. In other words, only capability can be measured. That's all. I've seen my share of overgeared and underskilled players out there. Heh, I used to be one. I'm not the best Priest in the game but it doesn't mean I'm going to stop striving for it.

Playing ability does not change drastically over time. How you heal in Karazhan a year ago and how you heal in Hyjal are going to be about the same. The spells you use, the target priorities, and all the other details will be similar. What does change over time is the gear acquired between just turning level 70 and entering Black Temple. The gear allows you to hold your own in such a high tier instance.

I've seen various opinions that believe it's the skill of a player that determines everything. I don't think that explains everything. The nature of World of Warcraft is set in such a way that your gear and skill are both intertwined with each other. Eventually you will hit a ceiling in your skill level where you just can't get any better. The gear you sport now will define the level of raid instances a Priest can successfully do. It's easy to bring an overgeared, underskilled player to Karazhan. On the other hand, it's nearly impossible to find success in bringing an undergeared, overskilled Priest to Black Temple.

What stats should you be looking for when picking up a Priest anyway?

Before we can answer that, it's best to look at what raid instances you plan on working your way through. Before you light up the flames, keep in mind that these are really rough and general numbers. You can overcompensate or undercut the numbers based on the other healers if the raid. For example, if you bring a T6 decked Paladin to Tempest Keep, you can get away with a slightly less than geared T4 Priest in theory. Obviously if said T6 Paladin has a hard time healing or is playing from the opposite side of the world with bad latency, then no amount of healing is going to help ease the healing stress. I'm going to provide a few benchmarks for raiding Priests based on what I think is comfortable. Again, treat these as ballpark numbers.

T4 – Gruul/Magtheridon: ~1500 healing, 250 MP5 while casting
T5 – Serpentshrine Cavern, Tempest Keep: ~1750 healing, 300 MP5 while casting
T6 - Black Temple/Mount Hyjal: ~2100, 350 MP5 while casting

I won't prioritize these in any particular order. As the main scout (or recruiting guy) for my guild, I'm stuck with the pleasant job of sifting through the various applicants that do apply or head hunting for players that fit our needs. But let's look at Priests from a tangible and objective point of view. The first step is to gauge how much of a challenge their gear can handle. In no particular order:

  • Stamina: A dead Priest is a useless Priest. There's got to be a certain amount of damage that Priests can absorb before die. Several raid encounters involve damage taken by everyone. If a Priest can't even survive a single hit or two, then they may as well not be brought in. It's not just a stat for.
  • Healing: This is our bread and butter stat. Like I mentioned earlier, the more the better. Keep in mind that it is possible to have too much healing. When that happens, a Priest will end up overhealing more. In this case, it's best to switch around a few gems to help emphasize mana regen instead.
  • Mana regen: A lot of players overlook this stat. Mana regen is a measure of how much mana a player gets back over a period of time. Like Stamina, without mana a Priest is also useless. Later raid encounters will be stressing a player's mana because they're endurance fights. Illidan can take over 20 minutes. Illidari Council will take about 10. I have no idea about the Sunwell ones but they seem pretty taxing as well.

Great! Where can I find me one?

WoW Forums: This is the number one place to look when you're searching for players to add to your guild. New players and guilds post all the time and you're bound to find what you're looking for.

WoW Lemmings: What's better than the WoW forums? An organized version of the WoW forums. WoW Lemmings sorts threads on both Alliance and Horde forums and displays them in a fashion that's eye friendly and also based on your search criteria.

Might there be other places one could go to pick up and recruit healers? Anyone know any pseudo-classified places?

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 the WoW Insider Directory for more priestly info!

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