Holy Spec

August 18, 2009 at 3:02 pm (5 mans, Circle of Healing, Divine Hymn, Flash Heal, Grouping, Guardian Spirit, Healing Mechanics, Holy Spec 14/57/0, Holy Spec 18/53/0, Prayer of Healing, Prayer of Mending, Raiding, Renew, Talents)

Unlike a Discipline priests there really is a lot of decisions to make in choosing a Holy spec.

As you make your decisions it’s important to keep in mind what you plan on doing as a Holy Priest. You can Tank heal as a Holy Priest, but you don’t really have the single target heals that Discipline benefits from. So as a Holy Priest your job is primarily raid healing. Now if you do a lot of 5 or 10 mans then chances are you might find yourself Tank healing every now and again so, if you expect to, you should take that into account when making your talent picks. On the other hand, if you’re doing solely 25 mans then you will rarely be tank healing and should pick your talents accordingly.


So here’s a couple of possibilities:

The first focusing on Mana efficiency:  18/53/0

And the second focusing on being an AoE healing powerhouse: 14/57/0

Discipline Tree:

As a Holy priests, strangely enough, your first major decision is how far you are going into Discipline. The realistic options are either 13, 14, or 18 points.

13 Points

Thirteen points is obligatory to pick up meditation. Without Meditation you gain zero (absolutely zero!) mana back from Spirit while casting. Without meditation you will either run out of mana, or spend so much item budget on MP5 and intellect that your healing will be awful. If tanks run away screaming whenever you join a group, check you have 3/3 Meditation.

14 Points

If you want it, the fourteenth point goes into Inner Focus. Inner Focus is also a mana talent. With a three minute cooldown, you will use it 2 or 3 times a boss fight. Assuming you use it on your most expensive spells (once on Divine Hymn and two times on Prayer of Healing) you are saving something like 4,500 mana, and gaining a 25% crit chance on those casts. For the 4,500 mana alone, that’s as good talent point.

18 Points

The final option is to take Mental Agility. As a Holy priest 3 of your 5 main spells (Circle of Healing, Renew and Prayer of Mending) are instant cast. So 10% less cost on those spells is a lot of mana. Furthermore this is nothing to do with your gear. So if you are just starting out and you have mana issues, getting Mental Agility is a good way to keep up with better geared healers. You’ll have to waste a point to get to Mental Agility, usually it’s in Improved Power Word: Shield, but it really doesn’t matter too much where it goes. Wasting a point can feel messy, but really, Mental Agility is good, if you are starting up and are having mana problems, or you’re doing hard modes, you might have a good hard look at this spec.

Holy Tree:

Now we know how many points we have left to spend in the Holy Tree.

Tier 1 to 4

The first four tiers of the Holy tree are actually quite poor. We need to spend twenty points here to get to tier 5 so we have some options:

Holy Specialization: Crit is important for a Holy Priest. It powers Holy Concentration and Surge of Light. So you want to pick up Holy Specialization.

Holy Focus is a nice option. As a Priest you do a lot of raid healing. At times when there is a lot of raid damage there is a good chance of some spell knockback, and Holy Focus will help you with that.

Improved Renew is not at all bad, particularly if you are planning to pick up Empowered Renew later on.

Divine Fury is good for questing, but as a raid healer your only benefit is decreased cast time on Greater Heal. Many people at the moment think Greater Heal is not a useful spell. I don’t agree. If you intend to do any sort of Tank Healing as a Holy Priest (in 5 mans or 10 mans in particular) then Greater Heal does play a part in your rotation and so Divine Fury is a good option. Even if you don’t intend to Tank Heal, the benefit of Serendipity lower down in the tree means Greater Heal is a viable spell to be casting while you spot heal. Improving the cast time is not completely wasted.

Spell Warding. 10% magic reduction sounds good. It’s better for PvP because your main concern there is your own survivability. In a PvE environment it’s less important. Ultimately your tank will take much more damage than you, so to benefit your raid the most you want to improve your tanks survivability, and your raids survivability. It’s a very selfless environemtn. Sure, if you’re dead you can’t heal, but ultimately improving your raid’s survivability by 2% is more important that improving your own by 10%. So take it if you don’t like the look of anything else, but if you think you will get decent mileage from any other talents take those first.

Inspiration is a good choice for tank healing because it is up a good percentage of the time, and 10% less physical damage is substantial. As a raid healer it will still offer some damage reduction, but it’s not reliable. Up to you.

Desperate Prayer is a nice investment for a single point. It actually has a nice short cooldown so it’s very often available to you when you need it, and has saved me more than once. Binding Heal is great, but when you find yourself standing in a Fire you don’t have time to cast, so an instant self heal is great.

Improved Healing. 15% less cost on Greater Heal isn’t worth it. Even if like me you do use Greater Heal, it simply won’t be a substantial amount of your mana outgoings. Divine Hymn is once per fight and ought to be used with Inner Focus so, again, not worth it.

Holy Reach – Greater range means Prayer of Healing is more reliable, and Circle of Healing and Divine Hymn will be better at picking out the people who need healing. A good choice to get you to tier 5.

Tier 5 Onwards

Tier 5 is when it starts getting tasty.

Spiritual Guidance is what makes Spirit good, no brainer.

Spirit of Redemption I don’t actually like very much because I don’t particularly like the mechanic. However 5% more Spirit and an extra load of healing when you die is easily worth the point. It’s not a bad mechanic, I just don’t really like how it works.

Healing Prayers is a substantial mana reduction on two of your best spells.

Spiritual Healing is 10% more healing. Another no brainer.

As is Surge of Light. Surge of Light procs a lot, it gives you free heals, and those free heals give you stacks of Serendipity. I’ve talked before about how important Serendipity is for a Holy Priest and Surge of Light has a lot of Synergy with that.

Similarly Holy Concentration works off of Crit which makes crit a really nice stat for Holy priests, and it gives extra Spirit regen which again makes Spirit very tasty.

Empowered Healing is very nice and ideally I’d like to max it out, particularly if I was expecting to tank heal regularly. However, there are so many things to take that, if you’ve picked up Mental Agility in the Discipline tree, this is somewhere you can save some points.

Serendipity is necessary. Must take.

Empowered Renew improves the healing you get from Renew and it gives your Renew a chance to crit on the initial cast. That means it can proc things like Surge of Light and Inspiration which is fantastic. At the very least put 1 point in it to gain the crit chance.

Circle of Healing is obviously crucial.

Divine Providence is a nice boost to your best AoE spells including Circle of Healing, Prayer of Healing and Circle of Mending. It is talents like this that make the Holy tree so great at what it does.

Finally Guardian Spirit is fantastic utility and, glyphed up, can be used very often. Excellent investment for a single talent point.

And again, there is nothing in the Shadow Tree worth taking.

So there you go. Obviously there is some personal choice in there. Some people like Body and Soul, which I didn’t really talk about. Other’s might prefer more in Empowered Healing and Less in Test of Faith and so forth. Hopefully I’ve give you some useful ideas.



  1. justsigneduptopost said,

    Thank you, very good walk through. I guess I should get rid of that Improved Healing now. 🙂

    Regarding the talents Blessed Resilience, Empowered Renew and Empowered Healing. I suppose you could look on your healing stats and figure out which one is best for you.

    Assuming bonus heal from gear is 50-65% of the total heal (reasonable? based on a 4-5k flash heal), ER gives about +8% to renew, EH gives +2.5% to flash and BR gives +1% to all spells.

    So flash heal (and greater heal) has to be >40% of all your healing done for Empowered Healing to be better than Blessed resilience. Renew has to be >12% of your healing for Empowered Renew.

  2. SpotHeal said,

    There’s a litte bit more to it than that in so far as Empowered Renew is giving you that extra crit chance, so you probably want 1 point in that.

    But yes after that one point invested your method makes a lot of sense to me. I suppose it’s possible that, for example, your crit rate is high and your flash heals are doing a lot of overhealing, in which case maybe more points in empowered healing isn’t what you want. So you have to look carefully at your effective healing, your overhealing, and think about the way you use flash heal (or renew, or whatever) in fights.

    I’m nit picking though. Your suggestion sounds like a very good rule of thumb to me.

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