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Holy Priest, where art thou?

June 1, 2010

I know they’re hiding somewhere. The elusive, graceful, holy priest, fallen queen of raid healing and often neglected powerhouse, has become a little rare on my server. I know they are there, kept safely hidden in guilds and nurtured by those who know their worth. But they’re being rather quiet. You don’t see many holy priests trying to PuG raids.

Holy priests are still there and are strong. If you check the priest Wow-heroes listing for my server, holy priests outnumber discipline greatly in the highest levels of gear. You just don’t hear from them often in trade chat or when you’re filling PuG healers.

Simply by observation, discipline seems to be getting a lot of the limelight these days. There are more people trying it out to see how it works. It’s a little obnoxious, to be honest. They tend to be new alts and a little undergeared/inexperienced with anything but shield. Not that shield is bad. There are just other things that are equally important. Like fade.

The most prevalent raid healers that I find looking to fill in as a PuG are shaman and druids. And mostly shaman at that.

For quite a few weeks, we’ve ended up with three restoration shaman raid healing. It isn’t ideal for loot distribution, but it’s who was available. I find that druids tend to be very hit or miss when it comes to reliability. I can get them in for one raid, but then I can never get them to return on a regular basis. For a while I had a rotating druid spot and just filled it with whichever of three known druids were online. Restoration shaman have turned out to be more reliable in attendance, although their skill level and healing ability is less consistent. Granted, this is not representative of all shaman and druids. It’s simply characteristic of the players that I’ve associated with recently.

I was rather happy when I added a holy priest to my raid. He hasn’t been with us long enough for me to really evaluate his performance, but he seems strong. Mostly, I’m just happy to have a holy priest for the sake of having one. I haven’t had a sister (brother?) priest around for a while.

I’m not sure how to evaluate a holy priest. But I tend to automatically feel a bit more confident in their general ability. That might be a mistake, but I trust that they are aware of abilities unique to their class beyond Circle of Healing. I hope that they understand Fade, Binding Heal, Flash Heal, and Guardian Spirit. And part of me already likes them because are not Discipline. I don’t understand them as well, and thus I can’t critique their every move and wonder why they aren’t doing it right. It’s for the best. It really is.

[Edit: The first line was meant to read “I feel a bit more confident.” I just realized I worded it funny and it sounded the opposite.]

Finally, someone to use all that spirit cloth gear.

No need to watch for weakened soul on my targets or coordinate pain suppression cooldowns. Now there’s a shiny different cooldown to coordinate with, and it’s nice to have that extra ability added to the raid. And occasionally a glowing angel appears in the middle of the floor. I haven’t seen that one in a while.

I have no idea how holy is doing in the world of healing right now, but it doesn’t really matter because I deal with PuGs. In the world of PuGs, a competent holy priest can outheal a dimwitted competitor any day.

And I like having a priesty friend in the raid.

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From → Pugging It, Raiding

4 Comments
  1. Chelyr permalink

    When my brother-in-law and his wife started WoW in early 2008, they made a warrior (tank) and a rogue. They played with a co-worker (enh shaman) and his girlfriend (arcane mage). When they needed a healer, I rolled Chelyr, holy priest. We scheduled two play nights a week and only played as a five man team, running hundreds of quests and instances together. When our tank and rogue decided they preferred another MMO and the group dissolved, Chelyr was level 49 and stuck on PVE server.

    When PVE to PVP server transfers opened up a few months prior to Wrath, I moved Chelyr to TN that very day before the transfer queues exploded. I went from 49 to 70 very quickly, questing as little as possible, making my way by healing Outland instances. I healed often for one of Pro Lucror’s main tanks at the time, a warrior name Galreth. He attempted to recruit me into the guild, but I couldn’t commit to their raiding schedule and Wrath was due shortly.

    I reached level 80 about a month after Wrath was released and my Greater Heals were critting for 20K plus. This was in blues and a few epics. Circle of Healing had no cool-down. I could effectively tank heal in Nax and OS, and raid heal quite well. Once the nerfs arrived in the first few Wrath updates, everything seemed to slow down. I felt like I was in quicksand while healing, sluggishly responding to incoming damage. I tried disc for awhile and have never enjoyed it much outside of PVP. Once my holy paladin became viable, disc was out of the question for me, and holy priesting was something I only did rarely. I sometimes miss it and have considered cranking it up again. Now that I’ve moved my two dps alts to another server, I may yet.

    Another issue I had with holy priesting on Chelyr was that it seemed like you felt like you had to defer to me on loot, and you would be upset if I won something. It got to the point where you wouldn’t even want me in a raid with you unless I was on another toon. There was always a sense that we were somehow competing. Truth be told, I was always happy to see you excel and the one time we two-healed Nax together as disc and holy was one of my more memorable raiding experiences. In the end though, it was easier to just put her on the shelf.

    Now I’m at a crossroads. My gear is suffering as both shadow and holy. I have accumulated a number of frost badges and am preparing to gear myself for one spec or the other. Just not sure which yet. I miss holy. I was very good at it when I played it often, and was recruited by several of the prominent TN raiding guilds. Married life has never permitted me to fully explore those options.

    So, yeah, wall of text, life story, sorry about that. I know there are some good holy priests out there, quietly toiling to keep everyone healed up and buffed. And there are probably just as many still working to incorporate all the tools the holy priests have at their disposal. It’s a robust class and spec that can be rewarding to play once you wrap your arms around all that it has to offer.

    Thanks for this blog post, Domni. It has given me some new ideas and a fresh perspective on my holy priest.

    • I feel so guilty that you put Chelyr on the shelf because of me, particularly when I’m so grateful to you for all your help and encouragement. I wish I could say that I had never felt competitive or cranky…but it happened now and then. I was very new to raiding. I handle things better now that I have more experience. Going from ToC to ICC gave me the perspective that I needed. In the long run, it really doesn’t matter. You’re going to replace that shiny thing in a few months, and you might never get it all in the first place. If the raid lives, you probably didn’t need it anyway. I’m sorry for being a brat in my early healing days.

      I do miss Chelyr healing as holy. I hope you give her a go again. Holy priests are rather fantastic and have so much power. I remember having so much awe for her. And being so incredibly terrified of 2-healing Naxx. I hated that bug fight. I died every time.

      • Chelyr permalink

        You weren’t a brat per se. It was just easier to not do anything to upset you at the time. Of course, given my behavior of late, I seem to be way beyond that. 🙂

        Again, thanks for the post. Gives me food for thought.

  2. youyankityoutankit permalink

    Strangely holy priests are everywhere on my server and disc priests [which we badly want a raiding one] are scarce and the disc priests that exist… aren’t very good – they heal like a holy priest just in discipline spec which doesn’t work.

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