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Ok, priests are best used for healing
Healing priests are valued by many as proficient and skilled healers, capable of utilizing a variety of heals and numerous buffs that benefit raiders such as Power Word: Fortitude, Divine Spirit, Shadow Protection and Power Word: Shield. These buffs can be further improved by spending points in the discipline tree for Improved Power Word: Fortitude and Improved Power Word: Shield. While sometimes considered by some to be mana inefficient when compared with other healing classes, the introduction of the Shadowfiend in the Burning Crusade allows a healing priest to regain a significant amount of mana used to continue healing while providing negligible damage against one target. The use of the talent Lightwell can allow raiders to regain health by accessing the conjured well, while Spirit of Redemption allows priests specced deep in the holy tree to continue casting healing spells on a raid for 15seconds beyond death with no expense to mana. When speaking of end-game priests at level 80 there are two types of priests to consider:
- Deep holy specced priests
- Deep discipline specced priests
For priests deeply specced in the discipline tree, their strength lies in preventing damage. They cannot put out as much raw healing as holy priests can, however the strategy for discipline priests is quite different; they prefer instead to strengthen allies and prevent damage from happening by shielding others. Discipline priests are capable of healing multiple targets, but in a large group their role will usually be to keep the main tank alive. Their tree focuses on protection using Power Word: Shield and Flash Heal. While healing priests do not possess the raid healing out put of a druid or the tank healing capabilities of a holy paladin priests are incredibly proficient at both of theses roles earning them the name "The jack of all trades master none".
But they can also dps ok!
The strength and versatility of a shadow-specced priest has been recognized as an invaluable asset in both five mans and raids. A shadow priest is capable of contributing significant damage as well as providing a variety of buffs and debuffs that benefit the group as a whole. A shadow priest's Misery is a debuff that increases the chance to hit the target by 1/2/3% and increases the damage of a shadow priest's Mind Blast, Mind Flay and Mind Sear spells by an amount equal to 5/10/15% of their spellpower. It should be noted, however, that a single shadow priest can easily keep the Misery debuff active and additional effects from other shadow priests will not stack on the same target. The Vampiric Embrace talent gives a portion of the shadow priest's single-target shadow damage as a group-wide heal that can aid in keeping the health of group members up; this can be especially helpful when grouped with a tank and warlocks who Life Tap frequently, as well as rogues and Feral druids performing melee damage.
Most importantly, Vampiric Touch benefits a caster or healer group by providing mana over the course of the fight. This is the primary reason to have a shadow priest in raids; to either provide the mana to healers during a healing-intensive fight, or to damage dealing casters in fights which focus on burst or constant area of effect damage, as well as to Paladin tanks who must use mana for their threat generating abilities.
These debuffs are an addition to the base priest Power Word: Fortitude, Shadow Protection, and Power Word: Shield buffs and can be improved by delving into the discipline tree for Improved Power Word: Fortitude and Improved Power Word: Shield. As a result, raiding builds exist that range from the full 61-point shadow build to hybrid builds with points in the discipline tree or even holy tree for greater versatility. In addition to providing significant damage and buffs, shadow priests have the flexibility to drop out of Shadowform and provide backup healing if the situation warrants, though they typically suffer from the lack of points spent in the holy tree and reduced bonus healing from damage-oriented gear.
On the other hand, some DPS priests will go more into discipline and put some in either shadow, or holy to increase their damage even more. A DPS priest with discipline and shadow doesn't have the damage potential of a shadow priest with most talents into shadow, however, they will receive the boost to their group buffs, have a threat reducing move for others, and also have the potential to heal slightly to assist the healer when necessary. A DPS priest with discipline and holy is much more versatile than one with shadow, the holy hybrid has a few key moves that can benefit him/herself and even make things a little easier (little in a rather small sense) for the healer. With the talents in holy, usually a priest will have the 5% additional chance to critically hit with holy spells from Holy Specialization, after that it can vary, but another option would be to get Spell Warding to reduce spell damage taken. The best bet however is to put five in Divine Fury to reduce cast time of some of your offensive spells and then top that off with Searing Light later on down the tree, to increase overall damage. Finally the last talent to pick up should be Desperate Prayer, because it is low-cost and is an instant heal, which goes good with Mental Agility in discipline to reduce the mana cost further. The discipline DPS class isn't for everyone and can take a long time to master, but it is a fun and challenging class to play and some will enjoy it more than others.
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