Holy Priest Healing Guide — Season 4

Last updated on Apr 22, 2024 at 12:50 by Niphyr 45 comments
General Information

Welcome to our Holy Priest guide for World of Warcraft — Season 4. Here, you will learn how to heal as a Holy Priest in both raids and Mythic+ dungeons. We cover everything from the basics all the way to min-maxing techniques to optimize your output.

If you were looking for WotLK Classic content, please refer to our WotLK Classic Holy Priest guide.


Holy Priest Overview

Holy Priest is a fantastic reactive healer, especially suited for healing large groups and raids. With a response to almost all damage types, there is always a tool on hand to deal with the situation and keep you thinking while you play.

Raid healing as a Holy Priest revolves around the chosen talents and the two Holy Words, Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify, and Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity. Outside of these, the bulk of the healing comes from the Mana-efficient Prayer of Mending Icon Prayer of Mending and Circle of Healing Icon Circle of Healing, alongside the variety of "filler" spells used to reduce the cooldown of our burst-healing holy words. Talenting into Holy Word: Salvation Icon Holy Word: Salvation gives Holy Priest a second raid cooldown, which can be invaluable to your healing team.

To properly play a healing role, you will need more than just class-specific information. To better understand healing in general, we recommend that you read our healing guide.


Strengths and Weaknesses

V Strengths
  • +Excels at reactive burst and group healing.
  • +Unique cooldown-based healing style providing regular bursts of healing.
  • +Powerful group cooldowns with Divine Hymn Icon Divine Hymn and the talents Apotheosis Icon Apotheosis and Holy Word: Salvation Icon Holy Word: Salvation.
  • +Group utility with Dispel Magic Icon Dispel Magic, Mass Dispel Icon Mass Dispel, Mind Soothe Icon Mind Soothe, Power Infusion Icon Power Infusion, and Leap of Faith Icon Leap of Faith.
  • +Good single target damage potential, when healing is not required.
X Weaknesses
  • -Properly utilising the multitude of low-cooldown healing abilities regularly can be difficult to track for new players.
  • -Reliance on short cooldown abilities can hurt sustained throughput, especially single target.
  • -Mediocre group healing in situations that force a large spread.
  • -Poor damage compared to most other healers.
  • -No interrupt.

Holy Priest and Guide Changes for Dragonflight Season 4

Season 4 introduces a way to target specific, powerful items with the new Antique Bronze Bullion Icon Antique Bronze Bullion. A new section has been added to our gear page discussing the new Antique Bronze Bullion Icon Antique Bronze Bullion system and what items to purchase with them.

Dragonflight Season 4 brought with it no major changes for Holy Priest. Patch 10.2.6, which leads into Season 4, did, however introduce a number of changes aimed primarily at the Holy Priest side of the talent tree. These changes were aimed at buffing or changing talents that were typically not chosen. Below is a quick summary of the changes.

  • Empyreal Blaze Icon Empyreal Blaze was changed to be a passive talent which makes Holy Word: Chastise Icon Holy Word: Chastise cause the next 2 Holy Fire Icon Holy Fire casts be instant and free.
  • Lightwell Icon Lightwell was redesigned to put Renew Icon Renew on it's healing targets, and Lightwell also has its cooldown reduced slightly when casting Holy Word: Serenity Icon Holy Word: Serenity or Holy Word: Sanctify Icon Holy Word: Sanctify.
  • Pontifex Icon Pontifex and Resonant Words Icon Resonant Words have been redesigned to provide stacking healing increases when using specific spells.
  • Divine Word Icon Divine Word healing effects were reduced, and using it with Holy Word: Chastise Icon Holy Word: Chastise now increases damage dealt by 20% and reduces the cooldown on your next Holy Word: Chastise.
  • Healing Chorus Icon Healing Chorus was buffed granting more healing with less stacks needed.
  • Harmonious Apparatus is now Voice of Harmony Icon Voice of Harmony and adds Holy Nova Icon Holy Nova to the spells reducing the cooldown of Holy Word: Chastise Icon Holy Word: Chastise.
  • Gales of Song Icon Gales of Song has become a 1 point talent, granting the same bonus as spending 2 points previously.
  • Prayerful Litany Icon Prayerful Litany now heals 100% extra to the lowest health target.
  • Empowered Renew and Rapid Recovery were removed
  • Various links were added, and most of the bottom 3 rows were rearranged.

What does this mean for Holy Priest in 10.2.6 and beyond? The talent builds have changed, but the rotation primarily remains the same. The main difference is the addition of some previously ignored talents like Lightwell Icon Lightwell or Divine Word Icon Divine Word.


Leveling a Holy Priest

While levelling a Priest, you will often want to heal your allies through dungeons and other group content. Our levelling guide has you covered for the basics, as well as some tips and tricks to help when healing.

Hitting max level and then trying to dive straight into end-game content as a healer can be quite daunting. To ease this transition, you should try to implement relevant macros and addons as you are levelling. While not all are necessary throughout the levelling process, getting started in modifying your UI and how it impacts your performance as a healer early on will make it much easier to dive head-on into the end-game content when you reach max level.


Basics of Holy Priest Gameplay

Holy Priest is classed as a reactive healer, meaning you will primarily be reacting to damage your allies take and then cast the appropriate spells from your toolkit to respond to that damage. While this healing style does make Holy Priest is one of the easier healers to pick up; getting your head around the number of healing spells available can take some time.

To learn about the fundamentals and make sure you are doing the basics right, familiarize yourself with the Spell Summary page, then move on to the Easy Mode page.

If you have experience playing Holy Priest, you can dive into a bit more depth by learning about the current talents, builds, and rotation. The rotation page, in particular, provides a lot of value in helping you properly decide when to use each of the spells and ensure you get the maximum return from your Mana spent.


How to Gear Up a Holy Priest

Gearing as a healer can be a bit daunting at first. There is a lot of variability in your healing from fight to fight, dungeon to dungeon. For most gear slots, you will be prioritizing item level, but this can be further complicated by gear with special bonuses like trinkets or tertiary stats like Leech and gear containing sockets.

To help you wade through it all, the stats page discusses what and why you should prioritize while gearing, and there is a best-in-slot list for the current raid tier to use as a foundation for gearing.

Once you obtain new gear, be sure to squeeze out that extra bit of performance by improving your gear with gems and enchants. You should also look to be buffing your character with the appropriate consumables.


Holy Priest End-Game

How you gear, play, and support your allies depends heavily on the type of content you are participating in. Whether it be large groups in a raid, smaller dungeon groups or PvP skirmishes, understanding the best way to prepare, and then apply each of your abilities to specific situations is crucial to becoming a solid Holy Priest healer.


Improving as a Holy Priest

A huge part of being a successful Holy Priest in any content is the ability to analyze your shortcomings and adapt. Most of the common mistakes for Holy Priests are around incorrect spell usage, resulting in poor Mana usage and low HPS. While the Rotation advice is quite clear on how to perform optimally, actually putting it into practice can be challenging. We have compiled a list of common mistakes, frequently asked questions, and some useful tools to assist you in improving.



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