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Spiritual Guidance: BlizzCon players tell about their first priests

Dawn Moore

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers healing for disc and holy priests. This week, Dawn and her shadow priest rival, Fox Van Allen, faced off at the WoW Insider reader meetup in a battle of quips, and it would seem that Dawn came away victorious.

Originally this weekend, I had planned on writing a direct address to Blizzard concerning holy priest healing and mana in beta raids. The topic has been a large area of concern for priests on the forums lately, and I thought I should give the discussion a little boost by addressing it in my column. However, I am currently at BlizzCon 2010, and I happened to get the opportunity to talk to Ghostcrawler (lead systems design) in person for a few minutes. During that time, I relayed the general message of our problem (HPS is jank, mana needs work) and figured I'd give the Blizzard developers a week to attend to it before assailing them with complaints. Until then, I ask that my fellow priests not panic for a little while longer. In the words of Toby, who is pictured above, "Keep the faith!"

By the way, I'm starting a donation fund for BlizzCon 2011 to buy Ghostcrawler a fedora. Ghostcrawler would look awesome in a fedora.

Anyway, to tide you guys over until then, I figured this week I would attempt to entertain you all. At first, I thought I might try to be humorous, and then I remembered I'm not funny. (A priest walks into a bar and ... yeah, I got nothing.) So instead, I've decided to go with priest story time. Hit the jump to see what I mean.

I had the opportunity to meet and talk with numerous priests at BlizzCon 2010 this weekend, and it got me thinking, "How can I make this into something for the readers?" I came to a quick and obvious solution based on one of my favorite things to do for WoW Insider: Write Breakfast Topics. Breakfast Topics, if you don't know, are short and sweet posts designed to ask the readers a daily, morning question. Sometimes the question is simple, sometimes it's complex, but I always love how it gets the readers engaged and talking with one another. So I decided to employ this format for Spiritual Guidance this week -- but instead of just asking the readers, I asked the priests who I met at BlizzCon.

The questions I asked are as follows:

  1. When and why did you roll your first priest?
  2. Did you play any other video games or do something before that might have led to you choosing a priest?
  3. When and how did you know it was the class for you?
Fox Van Allen of WoW Insider Sadly, Matticus and I kept missing each other all weekend, so you won't get to hear his story (though if you listen to the old episodes of the Circle of Healing Podcast, you can hear Matt and Kinaesthesia's origin stories in the first episode.) I did, however, get to talk to the corrupter of minds, Fox Van Allen. Fox is, of course, Spiritual Guidance's shadow priest writer. He said the following:
My first character ever was a night elf warrior. I had no idea how to play the game, but I was doing the whole melee thing and it bored the life out of me. Eventually I got to The Burning Crusade, and I abandoned it. So I said, "OK, I want to try something different. How about healing?" So what do you play when you want to heal? A priest! So I rolled this priest and I started leveling, but I had no clue what to do. So I put in some healing talents in random places, but I wasn't even healing 5-mans -- I was just being awesome on my own. Then my roommate came to me and said "No, no what are you doing? You have to level as shadow!" And I said, "What?" "No really, it's easier." "But I wanted to heal -- " "Yeah, yeah, you just change specs later." So I said OK and I respecced and I started playing shadow. Once I got to level 80, I was planning on switching back to healing -- but I never actually did it. I was having too much fun giving things diseases.

Derevka of Tales of a Priest OK, so Derevka wasn't actually at BlizzCon, but he and I tweet back and forth at one another, so I threw him in for some diversity.
I rolled my first priest back in June 2005. I originally started playing as a human mage in March 2005 on Eldre'thalas, then I started growing tired of that character and realized I had a good friend who was playing a druid on Bloodhoof. I said to him, "I don't want to play a mage. I want to try being a healer. What is a good class/race to play?" Remember, at that point, dwarves were the only race that had Fear Ward on Alliance side, and then Derevka was born: a blonde, busty, braid-twirling dwarf priestess.

I really started to realize that I enjoyed the priest class when I was running Zul'Farrak -- I just remember doing all the quests out in that area and healing this warrior tank in the dungeon. I just was doing my all to keep him alive. (If he was bad, or if I was bad ... who knows? But I had a blast doing it.) I realized I had to keep him and the rest of our group alive ... because if I failed; we all did. Fast forward to Molten Core ... Fear Ward was my guild's saving grace, and I had to be sure the tank had it. Move to Onyxia and Nefarian ... Fear Ward again! Huzzah! Derevka will save the day with her heals and her wards! Then to Twin Emps; having to stay within range of your tanks, but also mindful of the scarabs. Cast ... cancel ... cast ... cancel! Hey -- I kinda like this! Twin Emps died and I was one of the few healers still alive. I wasn't just a Fear Warding gimmick; I was a priest.

Through all the changes from vanilla, to TBC with Circle of Healing being THE raid-saver, to Wrath with Power Word: Shield for Infest ... Priests are so versatile, have always kept my interest, and all while needing to be sure you have the safety and wellbeing of your raid in the forefront of your mind.

Lawliepop of <Blood Legion> I haven't mentioned Lawliepop before (though I think I may have mentioned Blood Legion), so let me tell you who she is, just in case you don't know. Lawliepop is the co-GM of the raiding guild Blood Legion, a guild that has repeatedly held its top ranking in progression raiding for longer than I know. When I was a noob raiding priest, dealing with all the trials and tribulations of being a female raider (we're not going to go into that right now though), I heard about Lawliepop and she instantly became my hero. I built her up in my mind as this goddess priest, and whenever I stumbled upon something she wrote, I would soak it up like a Luffa (sorry, I couldn't resist.) Anyway, so I finally got to meet Lawliepop at BlizzCon this year, and after gushing at her and apologizing for being starstruck, I finally asked her these questions.
I first started playing my priest maybe two weeks after release. I had initially leveled a druid to level 50 or something like that, but to play with some friends who weren't leveling with my guild, I started a priest on another server and I really liked it. I had suspected I might want to be a healer, because back in Lineage 2 -- which I played before World of Warcraft -- I played my friend's healer occasionally and I kind of liked it. I knew that I definitely wanted to do some sort of support though, which was complicated in WoW since there weren't any support classes. I had done DPS for so long so I wanted to do that.

When I hit level 60, I couldn't see myself playing anything else. I could play a tank or alt, but I don't have a compelling reason to switch. I like priests.
If you think her response is a little dry (which as I transcribed it, I realized it was), I promise that our conversation warmed up over the next few minutes. She's super-cool though, I swear! We talked about theory, raiding and other fun stuff off record, and I talked to her about doing another article in the future. [Insert the noise of Dawn squealing happily here.] I also talked to Firstaidspec from Blood Legion, and though I won't publish his answers here for brevity, I wanted to let you guys know I may haggle some theory out of him come Cataclysm. He's quite good.

Finally, I guess there is me. I rolled my priest in the spring of 2006, but it was an alt, and I never got her to level cap. I rolled her because my then-boyfriend and I were both DPS (him a rogue, and me a balance druid) and we were tired of always waiting around for groups. I had played a healer previously in Phantasy Star Online, but typically I was a caster DPS, so rolling healer was a bit weird for me.

It took me a long time to realize priest was the class for me. I was playing my fourth priest as an alt to my rogue, and my friends continually asked me to come heal for them. I enjoyed healing groups, but for the most part I wanted to play a DPS. Then one day, I saw the arena Season 3 helm (which shares the model for tier 6) and decided I was going to have to PvP in order to get it. PvP was the first time I went disc, and I found that I loved switching between healing and damage. I loved the pacing of PvP and that I had to push myself and still was nowhere close to mastering it. Once I started healing PvE as disc, I started to enjoy PvE differently as well. Patch 3.0.2, and the introduction of Penance sealed the deal, and it's been mostly priests ever since.

So now it's your turn, readers! Answer the questions I listed above in the comments. Let's hear your origin story!

Want more tips for carrying out your priestly duties? Spiritual Guidance has you covered. Check out Holy 101 or Disc 101 for an introduction to healing as a priest; for the party-minded healer, see a priest's guide to tanks.

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