Monday, September 27, 2010

Holy Priest 4.0 Talent Build

This post is outdated! For latest updates, check here. Comments can still be left here.

Continuing from my post on how to spec your disc priest in 4.0/Cataclysm, let's take a look at what talents could be interesting for the holy priest. My first impression overall is that disc has changed more than holy, but I am more positive about the fun healing as holy might be in Cataclysm than I initially were. At one point I even considered not speccing holy at all for Cataclysm, because it just seemed like the same old thing, except maybe for Chakra. Alot has happened since then however, and I am sure alot more will happen before we have holy healing set in stone for Cataclysm. Don't forget to bear that in mind for this post by the way, things really do change from one day to the next now and this is therefore more of a general map of thoughts than the definite answer on how to spec your holy priest.

TL;DR - Suggestion on a build at the bottom.

As with the disc talents I won't discuss the obvious choices in the main tree, that's for another post. Instead I'd like to highlight the questionmarks, the talents that might need some testing before we can say which way it should be. Something I didn't mention in my other post however and that could be good to keep in mind is that these talents aren't optimized for Wrath, after all they're Cataclysm talents. That means healing might seem off at first, we won't know for sure how we're supposed to do things until the real things hits us.

The big difference between discipline and holy (except the same old one, disc being about shields and holy being about aoe-heals) seems to be that holy is way less about smiting than disc. As a disc you'll probably want to use smite as part of your standard healing arsenal, see my post on disc talents for more info about that. But as a holy you won't be able to spec Atonement, the talent that turns Smite into a heal, which makes me think we won't want to smite as often as holy. If at all. Also unlike discipline, holy wouldn't want to spend as many points in the off trees, leaving plenty of points for the main tree. Nearly all of them in fact, so even though I'm not entirely sure of the usefulness of all the talents, we'll have to spend points in them anyway since there's really nothing else to take. So let's take a look shall we.

The main tree (holy) - talents not mentioned here are the ones you probably should talent.

Divine Fury - Although holy healing still is alot about using instants, Heal will be one our most important healing spells in Cataclysm. Therefore this will be one of the most important talents to keep up with the haste drop (and at all times), and besides, there's not much else better to take anyway!
Desperate Prayer - Desperate Prayer is a very small heal, and not a great talent. But because Surge of Light is an even worse talent we still have to pick this to get further down the tree. It could be a nice saver when you need it, since it is free of mana and instant.
Surge of Light - This used to be one of the best talents in the holy tree, until they revamped to proc 6% from all Heals and Smites instead of half of your crits. It might've been too good before, although I don't think so, but it definitely sucks now. Even when raiding, where you'll throw shitloads of Heals, this just won't proc often enough to make any difference whatsoever. The mana efficiency is marginal at best, and I really feel they need to buff this alot before it's worth those 2 tp.

Lightwell - This poor spell seems to finally get the attention and overhaul it needs. With an increased range, no requirement of targetting and even bigger healing output, I'm seriously starting to think this might become a really good talent. I've always talented this spell (and generally get the response "Oh look, a lightwell!" from surprised people on TS) but that has been more out of sentimental reasons than the skill actually being good. Now it seems Lightwell might be as awesome as it always deserved to be.
Serendipity - You won't use this often, but when you do you'll be glad you have it. Haste will go down significantly from 80 to 85, and this will be our "oh shit" talent. When the tank is dangerously low on hp you throw two flash heals followed by a Greater Heal so save the situation.

Spirit of Redemption - The main reason people ever specced into this was for the extra 5% spirit and/or to get down to Lightwell. SoR doesn't provide any of those anymore, and eventhough it can occasionally be useful, I don't like to talent in a way that expects me to die.
Tome of Light - Only useful if we also spec Chakra and Revelations, but since Chakra is what being holy is all about in Cataclysm that won't be a problem. I am somewhat uncertain as to how useful this talent actually will be, but we have to talent basically everything to get all the way down into the tree anyway.
Blessed Resilience - The changes to this talent (and the corresponding in the discipline tree, Focused Will) have made them less of pvp-talents, and actually possibly very useful for pve. But maybe still not useful enough to warrant it taking talent points from something else.

The offspec trees

Mental Agility - I do believe Renew will still be a big part of our healing, although maybe less so than it is right now. Still this talent also improves CoH and PoM, two other very important spells in the holy arsenal. I also think mana might be more of an issue for holy than for disc (just as now) seeing as disc has more talents to improve mana efficiency than holy does.
Twin Disciplines - Since it increases both healing and damage done by 6% it is clear disc priests are the ones who will benefit the most from this talent. That doesn't mean it's worthless for everyone else. Like mentioned I don't think holy priests will be smiting very much, so they'll probably "just" be using the extra healing. 6% extra healing straight off is fairly good, and if you don't feel like you're having any issues with mana you could easily take this talent instead of Veiled Shadows or Mental Agility. It all depends on how much mana will be an issue in Cataclysm. Since I am gemmed for disc I have tons of spellpower but low mana regen and could use Mental Agility more than Twin Disciplines. Even in Wrath holies have been among the healers (together with resto shamans) who yell for innervates, but only you know if you're that priest or not! ^^
Evangelism (and Archangel) - Although it is possible to spec into Evangelism and Archangel even as holy, I don't think it would be something we want to do. Without Atonement we won't have the time to Smite anyway.
Darkness - Holy has no talent to improve haste. Haste is as important as it was in Wrath so this is a great talent.
Veiled Shadows - A decent way to improve mana efficiency for holy, but Mental Agility is at least twice as good.

So my first try out for a 4.0 holy spec would look something like this.
UPDATE 13/12: Here is the spec I'd go with for level 85.

That means we will try to keep renews up by using Heals, all the while trying to manage to keep the proper Chakra active and using our different corresponding Holy Words as fillers. Managing our Chakra states will be what will separate the wheat from the chaff when it comes to holy healing, so practice, practice, practice on evaluating the situation and choosing the right chakra stance, it will make a big difference. As it is now I personally feel that Chakra: Heal (Serenity) is almost always more efficient than Chakra: PoM (Sanctuary).


  1. Even if I stay away from reading up on Cata changes until the expansion hits, a short /cheer from me to a fellow priest blogger!! =)

    Good luck with the new blog and greetings from your blogging neighbour!

  2. Haha yeah, I gave up on trying to avoid Cata-info a long time ago, it's everywhere!
    And thanks! :)

  3. Any particular reason you're steering clear of Twin Disciplines? It's not mentioned in the offspec list but seems like a great talent unless I'm missing something important.

  4. Yes! It is a great talent. Only problem is that we don't have that many tp left after we've gotten everything we want in the holy tree. That leaves us with either haste, reduced mana-cost (either through Mental Agility or through Veiled Shadows), or increased healing. People have been going on and on about how much mana will be an issue (even on 80), so I went for Mental Agility instead. Haste has also always been important for holy, therefore Darkness.

    If mana isn't an issue at all, one could as easily go for Twin Disciplines instead of Mental Agility! Is 6% more healing more worth than 12% reduced mana-cost? I think Twin Disciplines is slightly weaker, but again, it depends on whether you have issues with mana or not (most holies at 80 do methinks). But I definitely should give Twin Disciplines a mention :) I'll add it at once.

  5. I realize this is a pretty old post. But it gets a fairly high ranking in google for Holy Priest in Cataclysm talent info at the moment. I was wondering if the information was really based primarily from a 10 man or 25 man raiding standpoint. (From a 10 man standpoint I agree on leaving SoR out, but if I were to primarily raid 25s I would put more stock in it).

    I wonder, if Blessed Resilience may be better than Body and Soul for the 10 man content I am doing where in many fights I am taking consistently huge hits in damage. I just haven't yet experienced the benefits of Body and Soul that would be more significant than the added survivability as an AoE healer. But if I really wanted to keep Body and Soul, I might want Soul Warding so I can give the movement benefit without the cooldown. I am experimenting by leaving out BR for now but taking Soul Warding. As far as the additional Poison removing effect I think it's a stupid addition to a PVE talent tree because it affects only the Priest.

    I am primarily Disc but I'm taking Holy as secondary for raiding when needed, as all other priest healers in my guild are Disc/Shadow.
    Also, I read on mmo-champ, quoting a blue post, that Surge of Light will soon proc from Flash and Greater Heal as well.

  6. @Katrina
    Hi! Yeah this is not the post I am keeping updated, the link on top should lead to the updated post, but they don't differ much so your questions are still valid. If you by SoR mean Spirit of Redemption I will say no, it's not a good talent. Being an angel upon death isn't automatically a good thing. More than it was handy, it actually caused trouble for those who wanted to combat res me. It's perhaps not a totally valid point for not taking it, but in the raid setting we have today I've never felt like being a spirit would've made much difference. You won't save a combat res, so your death will most likely lead to a wipe anyway unless it's just towards the end. And if there is no res, those few healings won't make a difference. Either they'll make it or they won't. It's just one tp, and in wrath we could spend that (especially since it came with the extra 5%). But now each tp is worth it's weight in gold! We have to choose carefully. Now if it instead made my skills bigger? Or faster? Then I'd be interested.

    Body & Soul is, as many other priests will tell you, one of them skills you don't learn to enjoy until you've tested it and imagine what it would be to be without it. I agree in heroics it's more of a fun thing, but in raids it has proven invaluable. Any time I have to get out of shit (which is alot more important in raids) or get to my target fast this is totally awesome. But I wouldn't take soul warding. We never shield that much, it's just not mana efficient. Soul Warding doesn't remove the cooldown, it lowers it. The shield is just a tool, not a base heal. The poison removing effect isn't of much use however, I agree in that. See it as a bonus :P

    The damage in raids does warrant a question about whether or not BR could be a good idea. The reason I have chosen not to take it is because it only affects one target - me (like you mention with the poison dispel on B&S). Buffing overall healing will affect the entire raid, including me, and I have preferred those talents over these individual ones. B&S too is something that benefits everyone in the group. One could argue that you surviving = the raid surviving. But B&S does help out alot with this. Take Valiona & Theralion - being able to shield whoever gets Engulfing Magic, to move out of the fires and etc this is great. On Omnitron - whoever is kiting bombs, to move from various effects. On Magmaw, to move from the pillar, to kite adds. Well there are thousand times you'd like a speed boost.

    If they did do that change to SoL it might actually even be worth as disc. I've specced it as holy now for testing, but I still don't like it. It's not worth 2 tp imo until they fix it.